Once again the community’s social media platforms seem to be abuzz with misleading and false information as regards a meeting that had taken place between the Bombay Parsi Punchayet Board and about twenty-five community members, on the 25th of April, 2017, to discuss the issue of BPP increasing the amount of Service Charges. The following clarification has been issued by the Trustees of the BPP:
Last Tuesday, on the specific request of Phiroze Amroliwala, who needed to return to Canada at the earliest, the BPP Trustees met with a group of community members representing different colonies to discuss the issue of the increase in Service Charges. The hour and a half long discussion encompassed various issues related to explaining why the BPP was compelled to increase the service charges by Rs. 750/-. Through this mostly cordial meeting, the Trustees patiently answered all the questions and addressed all the concerns raised by those present.
The Trustees clarified that the increase, which came in after a period of 13 years and effectively amounted to less than Rs. 60 per year, was strictly related to the difference between the expenditures over the income of various colonies, and not due to external expenditures, like legal charges, doles, etc. It was explained in great detail how this small contribution from members of the community would help the BPP focus more on other relevant issues of charity in general, and the allotment of houses against ‘refundable security deposits’ in particular.
The attendees were updated on how the current BPP Board has, in the last year and a half, allotted over a 100 free houses to members of the community, as also the direction that the Trustees desired to work in – so as to effectively manage housing for the current and the oncoming generations. Details of income and expenditure statements were shared and the Trustees welcomed community members to study these statements in greater details. This offer has been taken up by a few colonies. The meeting ended on a cordial note with most attendees from community engaging in offline discussions with individual Trustees.
Though most of the attendees were present to understand the rationale behind the hike in Service Charges and express relevant concerns, some harboured vested interests and are the culprits behind the unsigned and anonymous misleading whatsapp messages. One such instance, were the Gamadia Colony residents, when shown some of the details of expenses incurred on the colony, expressed their concern that no security/ watchmen were provided for the colony. Clarifying this issue, a communique from BPP clarified, “It is pointed out about Gamadia Colony that the security expenses have been included where no security exists. It is pertinent to say here that an Office was allotted to ZYNG where the security was placed. Moreover, where there are vacant flats owing to the demise of the last occupant, in many cases there is a dread of unauthorised intruder which ultimately leads to litigation cost, harassment, delay etc., a security is placed. In the FY 2013-14 and FY 2014-15 (partially i.e. upto October 2014) there had been security charges exclusively incurred by the Bombay Parsi Punchayet at Gamadia Colony for ZYNG Office. Hence, on the face of it, we do concur that Gamadia Colony is an open Colony with no security as there are in other Colonies encompassed with walls and gates, but the above is the reason for including some security charges.”
Unfortunately, the anonymous whatsapp author, with his/her vested anti-community agenda, has tried to convert this issue into an allegation against the Trust. The communique further elaborates, “The BPP caters to various activities and it has to look after the Doongerwadi, a couple of Agiaries, a Staff strength of around 400 as we have 12 Colonies plus 6 separate buildings and one Nassakhana, Old Age Home (Parukh Dharamshalla), Students Hostel, Gamadia Health Clinic; the Institutions to be looked after with massive annual expenditure as we care for those in the twilight of the years and there is no one to look after them. The BPP with their blessings is satisfied and does not crave for any monetary benefits but spends lavishly for the destitute. Most important of all, there are headings which have not been taken into account at all while calculating the Service Charges. These include Professional Charges; Conveyance and Travelling; Repairs and Maintenance; Printing and Stationery; Postage and Telegram; Telephone; Advertisement; Legal Charges and Audit Fees.
Dear beneficiaries, you need to understand the reality outside the Parsi Baugs and Colonies, where the rents are skyrocketing and in 33 months maximum, you need to keep changing your house as renewals are not done and you live with a constant sword on your head. Besides, the Stamp Duty charges you have to incur each time too are high along with the shifting charges burden. Instances are not wanting for the beneficiaries to open the eyes in the slum area where the rents run from Rs.3,000/-p.m. to Rs.5,000/-p.m. with no amenities like water and toilets with the worst living conditions scenario and where even the deposits are extracted in multiples anything between Rs.10,000/- to Rs.1 Lakh from the lowly earning persons. Now, dear readers, it is for you to make a judicious judgement before pointing a finger at the BPP.”
The Trustees would like to make a genuine, heartfelt appeal to the members of the community to support the Trust by making this small contribution so as to ensure a better and more efficient working mechanism. In the interest of the less fortunate of the Community and to safeguard our future generations, we request the members of the community not to get fooled by this false propaganda and to support the Trust so that the Trust can continue working towards the best interests and progress of our blessed Community.