Clearing The Air

Trustee Zarir BhathenaPT: The ongoing controversies regarding BPP’s housing allotment to Dr. Farokh Master, and the refusal to advertise in the Jam-e-Jamshed (JJ), have taken center-stage in our community over the past couple of weeks. Kindly comment.
ZB: The allotment of Dr. Farokh Master’s flat was done way back on the 23rd of March, 2016, as recommended by donor Nusli Wadia in the Wadia Committee Meeting, where it was passed by ALL THE SIX Trustees present. Subsequently the agreement has also been signed by all six Trustees. I’m surprised as to why this topic is now raised, after a period of three months?!? The new Trustees have completed almost eight and a half months and have allotted 65 flats to those in need in our community, in contrast to the previous Board which allotted 75 flats in 7 years! The present Board does not tom-tom its achievements. I would request the community not avoid getting misled over a non-issue.

PT: During the elections, you had promised to get the past finances audited and finalized. Have you delivered on your promise?
ZB: Absolutely! Our trio, with the support of our Chairman, has fulfilled the promise by completing the finalization and audit for two years (31/3/2014 and 31/3/2015). The IT returns have already been submitted to the Tax Department for 31/3/2014. As far as 31/3/2015 is concerned, the audit is complete, the Board has passed the accounts in the last meeting and the auditors have signed the same. The IT returns for 31/3/2015 will be submitted before 31/7/2016. A special thanks to Ermin Irani and Fali Billimoria of Kallyaniwalla & Mistry who were co-operative and helpful in finalizing the accounts for both the years.

PT: Kindly share the present financial deficit that the BPP faces. Was your decision to not advertise in the JJ a result of the BPP’s efforts to save money?
ZB: I’ve been informing the community right from November 2015 that BPP finances are very precarious and the previous Board left us with a huge deficit, which as on 31/3/2016 comes up to Rs 3 Crores! In this year, this loss is predicted to further touch Rs. 4 crores! I stand firm in going with the BPP’s decision to stop advertising in JJ because of the present financial crunch we face. This has been recorded in the minutes of the meeting and our co-Trustees would agree with the same, including the opposing Trustees Armaity Tirandaz and Viraf Mehta.
PT: Your experience in the real-estate and financial domains has helped the BPP greatly and keep a keen eye on all details. Can you share a little about that?
ZB: Yes, from November 2015 I’ve been negotiating and meticulously checking the bills payable to repair contractors and I found that previously this was not properly looked into and some of the contractors were taking advantage of the same. However, we have taken steps and the Board has black-listed such rogue contractors.

PT: Dr. Farokh Master’s housing allotment is a controversial issue with the Trustees taking the stand that you have allotted this flat on the request of the donor-family member, Mr. Nusli Wadia. What are you views on that? 
ZB: It’s true that on the recommendation of Mr. Fali Nariman, Mr. Nasli Wadia proposed the housing allotment for Dr. Farokh Master before the Board. All the Trustees unanimously agreed to the same as this request was from the Donor Family. In the Wadia Committee meeting on 30th June, Mr. Nasli Wadia asserted that including Dr. Farokh Master, he had so far proposed the allotment for a total of 5 Flats in the span of 54 years, on the Wadia Committee. His question was, as a donor am I not entitled to allot flats? On second thoughts, I recollect even when Godrej Baug was constructed by the Donor, 50 flats were allotted by BPP and the remaining, by the respective donors. Hence I did not see any fault with its argument and agreed to the proposed allotment.

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