BPP Connect

Parsi Times is proud to start the much-awaited, exclusive, monthly column, titled ‘BPP Connect’, which will keep the community informed about the ongoing and future activities and any change in policies carried out by The Bombay Parsi Panchayet (BPP). As promised to our readers last month, your favourite weekly will feature ‘BPP Connect’ on the first Saturday of every month, in order to provide first-hand information directly from the BPP, with the intention of connecting the community with the BPP on a public platform, thereby doing away with untoward rumors and misconceptions that seem to undermine both – the community’s intelligence and its faith in the BPP.

yazdi Desai. 1 copyIn this, my primary address, as the Chairman of the BPP, to our community through ‘BPP Connect’, on behalf of my Board of Trustees I would like to update you about all that has been worked upon so far, since the time you voted us (in October, 2015). We are thankful to Parsi Times to extend this platform to us free of cost, which enables further transparency and helps share our ‘report card’ with you, so that you can review our performance over the past 8 months:

I) Housing:
The BPP Housing initiative attracts the most attention and scrutiny and is subjected to prodigious brickbats and criticism, based unfortunately mostly on misinformation and rumors. Recently, the BPP has come under flak for allotting a flat to a good doctor, inspite of having valid reasons for doing so. However, the new Board has also allotted 65 flats to the poor and needy in only 6 months (though it’s actually been 8 months since we assumed office – as we had to contend with the continuing stay-order carried forward from the previous Board, for the first two months) which is a record of sorts, especially compared to the previous Board which, over a period of 7 long years (or 84 months), allotted only 75 flats! In the last 6 months, the BPP Board has allotted:

  • 15 houses under the “homeless” category;
  • 28 houses under the “married” category; and 
  • 22 houses under the miscellaneous/ congestion category.

II) Legal Cases:
A promise to the community made by all Trustees was that we would reduce litigation and settle legal cases wherever possible. We inherited about 220 legal cases, of which 20 have been settled – a small start, but a strong beginning in the right direction, even as other cases are being worked on.

III) Development Projects:
The new Board has been meeting members of the community weekly, and almost all of these concern housing matters. Being flooded with new/exchange housing requests, there is an acute need felt to increase the stock of flats for allotments. Hence, the new Board has kick-started 2 projects – one at Bharucha Baug, which was latent for years, and the other at Nirlon Goregaon Complex. Architect Hanoz Mistry’s new submitted plans for the Bharucha Baug project, have already been approved. The tenants of the partially demolished building, who were refusing to move out (one of the main reasons that was stalling the project) have now amicably consented to move and have been relocated, thanks mainly to the untiring efforts of Trustees Kersi Randeria and Zarir Bhathena. Architect I. A. Shah will be fast-tracking the Nirlon Goregaon Complex project. These two projects will add 150 new flats to BPP’s Housing Stock for allotment to our community.

IV) Aderbad (Multistoreyed ownership building at the entrance of Khareghat Colony):
We are pleased to inform you that the long-standing legal battle between the BPP and The Aderbad Society is close to being amicably resolved, thanks to Trustee Noshir Dadrawalla who played a key role in resolving this otherwise simple issue, which was earlier handled ineptly.

V) Monetisation And Balancing The Books:
The BPP is not financially strong. People assuming that the networth of BPP is thousands of crores need to keep in mind that this is the value of the combined properties of our baugs, colonies and Doongerwadi. The BPP needs liquidity to function and survives on donations, rent/service charges and interest from FDs. Towards the agenda of monetisation for liquidity, we have initiated:

a) Recovery of Service Charges from Tenants and Occupants
Parsi/Irani Zoroastrians are beneficiaries of the BPP and Wadia Trusts, and enjoy extremely subsidized housing, whereby the rent paid is often as low as 1/100th of the market rate in that area. The Trusts even pay 50% of repairs. This has resulted in a huge gap between income from the rent/service charges and maintenance expenditures of colonies. It must be noted that if a tenant/occupant is genuinely unable to afford paying rent and other service charges, the BPP waives or reduces the amount. The Board now has rightly asked occupants to pay for utilities like water, electricity, security, salaries of sweepers, malis, pump-men and property taxes.
Result: This will reduce fund deficit and the revenue will be utilized appropriately.

b) Increasing Parking Charges:
The Board has unanimously decided to increase parking charges in colonies. For many years now, parking charges have been unchanged and it is only fair that if a resident can afford a vehicle, he/she can surely afford to pay a higher parking charge. Looking at the large number as well as high-end cars that line our various colonies and Baugs, the Board believes that an increase in parking charges is justified and necessary. 

VI) Plugging Financial Leakages And Increasing Revenue:
The new Board has painstakingly gone through all the revenue earning contracts and opportunities and has increased the annual inflow of revenue by nearly Rs. Fifty Lakhs (Please refer to the table below). As Chairman, I must record the crucial role played by my colleague, Trustee Kersi Randeria in eliminating all middle-men and talking tough with the contractors in a no-nonsense and straight forward manner. I appeal to certain colleagues on my Board to unconditionally support Kersi and not dilute his efforts by indulging these contractors out of past loyalties/ relationships.

VII) Strengthening The Defunct Anjuman Committee (DAC) Of The Federation of Parsi Zoroastrian Anjumans of India (FPZAI)
A defunct Anjuman is defined as one having lesser than 15 Parsis residing in that town/village. The last couple of years have exposed numerous shady deals and alleged involvement of Federation persons trying to illegally sell off such Anjuman lands. The clean-up has started. Sam Chothia, Trustee of Valsad Anjuman, and a trusted, respected and dedicated person has been appointed to head this important Committee, with a new transparent team in place to ensure that our Anjuman properties are protected.

Result: Properties estimated at Rs.500 crores is now protected and illegal selling of lands has been stopped.


‘BPP Connect’ will be back next month, on Saturday, the 6th of August, 2016. We look forward to your feedback and queries at editor@parsi-times.com and mailparsitimes@gmail.com.

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