Jama Masjid runs up Rs 4-cr power bill, spat over dues has area in dark

Hours

Jama Masjid in the Walled City has run up a power bill of Rs 4.16 crore as the charges have not been paid for the past several years.

This has led to a spat between the Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid, Maulana Syed Ahmed Bukhari, and Delhi Waqf Board, each holding the other responsible for clearing the dues.

With neither ready to take up responsibility, residents in the vicinity of the mosque have been suffering as power distribution company (discom) BSES often snaps power supply to the area as penalty for unpaid dues.

Residents said the outages last between three and eight hours. This, residents said, also affects the water supply to the area.

Power Secretary Shakti Sinha said his department has no role in the matter. "It is between the power supplier (BSES) and the consumer; we have no legal role to play in this."

"The Waqf Board says they have no legal control over the place," a senior government official said.

Delhi Waqf Board Chairman Mateen Ahmed told Newsline the Board has never paid the electricity bill for Jama Masjid "as it is run by the Shahi Imam".

"We don't even know where is the electricity meter for Jama Masjid. Waqf Board has no control over Jama Masjid and it has never paid the electricity bill. We do not have any money either. Some other masjids, which are under the Waqf Board, have bills of around Rs 2 crore. We don't have the money to pay even those bills," Ahmed said.

Shahi Imam Ahmed Bukhari told Newsline that Jama Masjid was separated from Waqf Board in 1977.

"But the Jama Masjid property remains in the name of Waqf Board. They pay the electricity bill, which has not been paid for several years now. They get rent from the property. We want the Waqf Board to change the property in our name, then we will pay the water and electricity bills," Imam Bukhari said.

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