NEW DELHI: While Delhi government is giving double annuity to beneficiaries under a pension scheme to ease the financial stress on economically backward citizens of the national capital in view of COVID-19 lockdown, Delhi Wakf Board (DKB) is yet to release monthly monetary assistance to widows, Imams, and Muazzins of mosques since last few months.
Officials, aware of the development, claimed that even the board’s at least 170 employees had not been paid salary for the last two months.
'The payment of widows’ pension and remuneration to Imams and Muazzins are stuck since last four months. Wakf Board staff have not got their salary of last two months. The crisis has worsened after departure of board’s chairman Amanatullah Khan last month as for all payments, clearance is required from at least two signatory authorities,' said the official.
The wakf board pays Rs 2,500 per month to widows. Imams and Muazzins of about 200 mosques and get fixed remuneration of Rs 18,000 and Rs 16,000 per month from DWB respectively.
Khan’s tenure as chairman ended with the dissolution of the Delhi legislative assembly in February after which to disburse any payment, signature of two authorities—chief executive officer (CEO) and a member—is required.
Another official said, that the other reason for payment deferral is delay in receiving quarterly instalment of a grant from Delhi government.
'As per the approval, the board is entitled to grant in aid of Rs 37 crore annually, which is paid in four instalments. In the previous financial year, only one instalment was paid,' said he.
SM Ali, CEO of wakf board said, he wasn’t aware of three-four months delay but acknowledged that due to lockdown, payment for March had not been cleared.
'Because, I am a special secretary of health also, I am not able to look into the board’s matters in view of lockdown. Payments may only be disbursed after April 14,” he said.
Himal Akhtar, a member of the board, has already written to Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal requesting to him to resolve the issue.
“The issue of non-payment is very serious as the related persons are struggling hard to meet their livelihood. In order to help them and honour the lockdown, you are requested to please resolve the issue of bank signatory and release all due payments urgently,” his letter said.