"All the encroached Waqf properties either illegally sold or leased out shall be re-registered as Waqf property or in the name of Waqf institution," stated a Government Resolution (GR) issued here recently.

The state government's move comes in the wake of findings of the A T A K Sheikh committee, appointed in October 2007, which observed that many Waqf properties were illegally sold or given on lease.

As per the online data available with the Maharashtra State Waqf Board, there are 23,566 listed Waqf properties admeasuring 37,330.97 hectares in the state.

Out of these, a maximum of 15,877 Waqf properties admeasuring 23,121.10 hectares are in Aurangabad division. According to the Board, 60 percent of the Waqf land is under  encroachment in Marathwada region (Aurangabad division).

The Board's Chief Executive Officer has till date passed orders in 1,088 such cases (of encroachment), out of which only 21 orders were executed till June 30, 2007. There are 250 cases under hearing and more than 483 orders have been sent to sub-divisional magistrates for execution.

As per the Board's data, in Mumbai and Thane district there are 1,571 Waqf properties listed with the Charity Commissioner and 351 Waqf properties are listed with the Survey Commissioners office.

In the rest of the state, Waqf properties and the area in question are as follows: Pune has 2,728 properties and area of 3,724.55 hectares, Nagpur has 470 properties and area of 3,704.25 hectares, in Konkan region there are 1,724 properties covering an area of 2,339 hectares, Nashik has 1,455 properties and area of 3,340 hectares, and in Amravati division there are 1,310 properties with an area of 1,102 hectares.

As per the Central Waqf Act of 1955, all properties declared as Waqf include masjids, dargah, kabrastan, anathalay (orphanage) and other such properties.

The Act provides for appointment of 'Mutawalli' (Waqf trustee) or a management committee to oversee the Waqf property.

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