Imagine you are a Parsi staying in an old, dilapidated building which is almost falling into the adjoining gutter. One developer has taken over the building and pressurizes you to vacate within 48 hours. No alternate accommodation or displacement rent is given, so what do you do? Luckily you are a Parsi, so you go to the Parsi Punchayet and plead for a home and the Trustees give you a new home.
These are not made up stories, but real cases which have taken place during our term. There are many such cases who have been given homes by the BPP. To me, this is a dream fulfilled, as I have always maintained that the BPP should be an oasis for the less fortunate of our community.
A couple of days ago I was at the Board meeting of the Zoroastrian Investment Corporation Pvt. Ltd (ZICPL) and there was a general discussion that nobody wants to associate with the BPP because of its ‘bad reputation’. Considering what I have said above, this perception is unfair and undeserving of this new Board, which has Trustees who are sensitive and responsive to the needs of the community. I believe this undeserving perception is changing, as our public Appeal for funding repairs of our Gamadia Boys Hostel has brought forward donors. God bless them!
New Housing Projects
For the last 2 decades, the previous Boards have been well aware that the housing stock of the BPP need to be enhanced to accommodate the housing needs of the community. However, no serious effort was made to fulfill this need – for lack of genuine effort and also an attempt to make money of the project. For example, the Nowroze Baug Re-development Project was seriously taken up by the Wadia Committee of Management (WCM), wherein Mr. Nusli Wadia addressed a gathering of the residents of Nowroze Baug on Sunday 24th March, 2013 along with Architect Hafeez Contractor. But there followed a shocking situation. A meeting of the WCM was scheduled for Wednesday 29th May 2013. A few days before, on Tuesday 21st May 2013, the BPP Board had its weekly meeting, in which four of the seven Trustees were absent. Even so, the then Chairman, Dinshaw Mehta, with only two other Trustees present at this meeting, took up an item which was not even on the Agenda! A proposal by one Hemant Kumar Vyas for joint redevelopment of Nowroze Baug with Bombay Silk Mills (neighbouring plot of Nowroze Baug) was considered and found to be attractive by the trustees present and they minuted it to be discussed at the next WCM Meeting. The developer was never spoken about till this time and one wonders if the Developer Hemant Kumar Vyas had some connection with one or more trustees present at the BPP meeting. At the next WCM Meeting, Mr. Nusli Wadia was very upset about this proposal to take away the re-development from the Wadia family and he eventually lost interest in the project. To this day, the Nowroze Baug project is on the back burner.
This new Board of BPP Trustees has taken on the task of building new Houses seriously, with the only single-minded motive to help the community.
- Nirlon, Goregaon – The Wadia Committee of Management has kicked started a new project at our Nirlon complex, Goregaon, which will eventually deliver the following –
- 66 flats for rehousing existing licencees presently occupying the Nirlon Colony
- 118 flats of varying sizes on subsidized ownership basis
- 50 flats for free allotment to the poor and deserving
- The flats will be in 2 towers with a garden, podium parking and, more importantly, a dadgah.
This project will not be a self-financing project, since 50% of the flats will be used for re-housing and free allotments with even the ownership flats being given at rates heavily discounted to the market rates. Consequently approximately Rs 30 crores will be funded from the corpus of R.N. & N.N. Wadia Baugs. This project should be ready towards the end of the term of this current Board.
Bharucha Baug, Andheri – My colleague Trustee Kersi Randeria is spearheading a new Housing project which will have a mix of charity housing, subsidized ownership and also shops/offices at discounted rates to encourage entrepreneurial spirit in our community with special emphasis on our youth.
Last Tuesday, the BPP Board had a meeting with Architect Hanoze Mistry of Bharucha Baug, who has drawn up plans to develop the following:
- 96 Charity Flats and 48 flats for Sale.
- Architect Hanoze Mistry made a detailed presentation to the Board regarding this Project.
- This project should be completed in the next 24 months.
- Mobed Amelioration Scheme
As promised, the BPP has released payments upto June 2016 for Mobeds in the Mofussil areas. For the main cities, including Mumbai, the Scheme needs to be re-evaluated in view of the feedback the BPP has been receiving from behdins and the mobed varg.
Dadabhai Naoroji Remembered
In the past, the BPP has not held any community event to commemorate the legendary Parsis who have made a significant contribution to the community and to the Nation. However, this year the BPP, along with the Rahnumae Mazdayasnan Sabha (founded by Dadabhai Naoroji), organized an Elocution Competition for Parsi Students on the Death Centenary of Dr. Dadabhai Naoroji. The topic for the Elocution Competition was Dadabhai Naoroji – A Role Model. 48 students from various Schools took part in the Competition of 2 Groups (I to IV Std) and (V to X). It was ably compered by Mrs. Hutoxi Aibara and the Judges were Khojeste Mistree, Pareecheher Daviervala and Dr. G. Kerawalla. Each Category had 3 winners and 3 consolation prizes.
The good news is that 78% of 2748 BPP flats have paid the increased Service Charges till date. The sad news is that as investigations of those who have applied for waiver or reduction in the increased Service Charges is being carried out, among the genuinely deserving cases, there are residents who have selfishly applied for reduction/ waiver when they are not deserving of any reduction. Residents having cars and two wheelers and homes outside Baugs have applied. Families earning more than a lakh a month have applied, residents with children residing abroad who very obviously are looking after the parents lie about their children not helping out, residents who have been allotted flats after paying hefty deposits of lakhs of rupees have applied…it saddens us that some of our community members are so selfish that they will apply for a subsidy in the service charges when they can well afford to pay double of what is asked. We wish to assure all those who genuinely are unable to pay this increase, that you will be given the waiver or reduction in the increase.
Here once again we wish to thank residents of colonies and especially standalone buildings, who have paid the increase without a murmur of protest, even though they may not be having many amenities that some colonies are fortunate to have. They really do have the good of the BPP and community at heart.