BY: Jahangir Sofi
Srinagar: Despite getting hefty donations, the Waqf Board over the years have miserably failed to look after the maintenance of shrines in the city.
Mohamad Yaseen Zahra a local resident of Khankah in the downtown area of Srinagar city who has been the Khudaam at the shrine from his childhood told news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) that since the Central Waqf Board has taken over, the area around the shrine is in shambles.
“Other then collecting the donations they hardly care about the other requirements of the shrine, while pointing out at the heaped mounds of the snow,” Zahra said.
Mohamad Aultaf Quereshi a Khudaam at a shrine in Khanyar area of Srinagar said that that the non-seriousness of the Waqf Board could be gauged from the fact that decades old flooring has not been changed, and even the installed ACs are lying defunct.
“It is not only Waqf Board who are taking care of shrines. There are people and lovers of this shrine who donate many things. In this freezing cold, the hamaam of the shrine has to be kept warm for devotees so that hot water remains available for ablution, but the Board hardly care about the stock of firewood,” Quereshi said. “Despite repeated requests, they hardly pay heed towards the requirements of the shrine.”
“Where is the collected donation went,” Khudaam questioned, “people who have faith come here and we don’t have any accommodation for devotees here.”
“Devotees always desire to come here for night prayers but it is the callous approach of Waqf Board which has failed to make night accommodations for devotees,” he said.
A local vendor selling snacks outside the shrine in Khanyar said that he often witness stray dogs entering in the lawns of the shrine.
“Look at the lawn of shrine you can see the stray dogs, though Waqf Board has many employees deployed here they only care about the collecting donations,” he said.
“Look at the deplorable conditions of the kiosks. Why isn’t Waqaf Board people able to beautify it despite collecting donations in crores,” he said.
Official of Waqf Board who works as a coordinator for two shrines in the Srinagar city said, “Whenever there is any requirement of a work which is under our domain we do that.”
“Our top priority is to look after the maintenance of the shrines and we provide a proper receipt of the donation we receive,” he said.
On fire safety precautions taken by Waqf Board, he said that after the cloud burst hit the shrine, the Board carried out an audit, after which fireproof wires were used where ever necessary while more fire extinguishers were also kept available.
A Shopkeeper outside the Maqdom Sahib (RA) shrine said that keeping in view the flow of devotees the place should have been neat and clean while pointing towards the stairs of the shrine.
“The stray dogs lying all around makes it difficult for children, women, and old age people to visit the shrine,” he said. “If so many employees are working in Waqf Board can’t they manage just two employees who will keep these stairs free from dogs.”
“What is Waqf Board doing with the money which people donate for the maintenance shrines,” he questioned—(KNO)