Ever since I first contested the BPP election in September 2003 opposite Dinshaw Tamboly, it has been my dream that the BPP should be an oasis for the less fortunate of our community. Today I can proudly say that my dream has become a reality. Every week at least half a dozen families/couples approach us in desperate need of shelter. The Trustees review their circumstances and allot a suitable house almost “on the spot”. To the best of my knowledge and belief, no previous BPP Board has been as responsive to the plight of the needy as the current Board.
It is a testimony to the humaneness of my colleague Trustees – Kersi, Noshir and Zarir – that community members in need of housing come personally and plead their case before the trustees knowing fully well that this Board will relieve them of their anguish. In this regard the Board is ably assisted by our Head of Housing, Ronny Patel, who is promptly able to recommend apt fitment of flats for each case. I must also record here the co-operation of Mr. Nusli Wadia who has always agreed and willingly ratified each and every allotment that the Trustees have made in the Wadia Baugs.
Recently two prominent members of our community were dis-housed by their private landlords and they approached the BPP in desperation, and we were able to help them.
Housing Legal Cases
Last month, the BPP scored a tremendous victory when the Sessions Court dismissed an Appeal filed by Zulieka Homavazir (who unsuccessfully contested the BPP Trustees’ Elections in October 2015) against the BPP claiming ownership rights of a flat in Rustom Baug. She had filed an Appeal against an Order passed by the Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court of Mazagaon which had also dismissed her plea. In 2011 Zulieka was the highest bidder at an open auction of one of the flats in Rustom Baug. As always the auction was clearly for allotment of the flat on Leave & License basis against a Security Deposit. However after taking possession of the flat, she refused to sign the L&L agreement, but claimed ownership rights in the flat. To put pressure on the Trustees, she filed a Police Complaint as well as a Criminal Complaint in the Magistrate’s Court. However the Criminal Court held that her complaint is purely of a civil nature and not any case of misrepresentation or cheating by the BPP. Consequently, Zulieka’s undue harassment of the BPP has come to an end. Here, I must appreciate the efforts of the previous Chairman, Dinshaw Mehta who stood steadfastly against the legal assault launched by Zulieka Homavazir.
During the last few months the BPP has settled eight cases by filing Consent Terms. In the process the BPP has paid compensation for alternate accommodation of Rs 91.40 lakhs and got back 7 flats which have been allotted to the poor and deserving. To recover this money, it is imperative that the BPP will have to auction a few flats on Refundable Security Deposit Scheme.
As the community is aware, there was a campaign launched against the increase in Service Charges in BPP Colonies. The campaign was mainly orchestrated by a few persons claiming to be representatives of their respective Baugs/ Colonies. However the 3-4 main persons leading the campaign were not authorized in any way by the Associations / residents of their respective Baugs, but were only persons politically motivated and/or representing their own selfish interests – Amroliwalla of Khan Estate, Pervez Driver of Panthaki Baug, Jimmy Gadiwalla of Captain Colony, Urvax Dhanda and Viraf Kapadia of Godrej Baug all of whom are able to pay but not willing to pay.
For the record as at 30th April 2017, 66% of 2748 BPP flats have paid the increased Service Charges and we are thankful to all these residents who have appreciated the fact that the only way to make the BPP financially viable is by increasing service charges to balance the income and expenditure of the various Colonies and Baugs.
Mobed Amelioration Scheme
The payment under the Scheme was temporarily discontinued since July 2015. The BPP will be releasing funds for the period upto June 2016 in the next 3 months, before Parsi New Year. The Scheme needs to be re-evaluated in view of the feedback the BPP has been receiving from behdins and the mobed varg.
Monthly doles to the poor of our community in Mumbai and upcountry ranging from Rs 1200 to Rs 5000 per month have been cleared upto March 2017.
2nd Child Subsidy
The payouts of Rs 1000 per month under the April 2009 Scheme and payouts of Rs 3000 per month under the April 2010 Scheme have been disbursed upto March 2017.
3rd Child Subsidy
The payouts of Rs 3000 per month under the April 2009 Scheme and payouts of Rs 5000 per month under the April 2010 Scheme have also been disbursed upto March 2017.
Scholarship for Education
There are presently 50 applications pending which will all be cleared in the next 3 months before Parsi New Year.
Major repairs to the following Buildings in BPP Colonieshave been completed / are underway –
Godrej Baug – Buildings E, F, G, R
Khareghat Colony – Buildings A1, A2, 9, 12, 19, 21
Gamadia Colony – Buildings 6, 15
The BPP’s 50% contribution to the above repairs is Rs. 1.57 Crores.
Repairs to the following buildings will be taken up in the next few months – Contractor Baug – Reconstruction of Godrej Building
Bharucha Baug – Reconstruction of R Building
The BPP’s 100% contribution will be Rs. 4 crores.
Caring for the Old & Alone Occupants
There are many aged Parsis living in our colonies who are alone, ailing and financially weak. The BPP undertakes to provide them a monthly financial assistance of Rs 15,000 for their daily needs including ayahs / wardboys, plus unlimited medical assistance including hospitalization, and full waiver of rent and repairs contribution. In turn, such occupants have agreed to revert their flats to the BPP after their lifetime. Presently there are ten such cases.