The Metro Controversy Setting The Record Straight

Pursuant to the decision given by Hon. Mumbai High Court in the ‘Metro’ case on 30th November 2018, a spate of misplaced malicious criticism and allegations have been made by some ill informed community members, castigating me for what they perceive to be an anti-community role played by me.

The vile and vicious criticism levelled at me compels me to put before ‘right minded thinking’ members of the community the following facts, to highlight my involvement in the matter.

1. It all began in Udvada when Er. Marazban Hathiram contacted me to convey the fear the tunneling work of the Metro Rail would pass under the Sanctum Santorum of Wadiaji Atashbehram to which I informed him to meet me with proper details to enable me to take up the matter with the concerned authorities.

Er. Hathiram was scheduled to meet me at the Athornan Mandal Office on 23 October 2017 in the company of Mr. Jamshed Sukhadwalla and Mr. Hanoz Mistry but they did not turn up.

2. However, I made inquiries with the MMRC and was informed that the tracks would not be passing under the Sanctum Santorum but under the washing area where Kusti is done before entering the Atashbehram. I thereafter immediately met Dasturji Kotwal, explained the situation to him, after which Dasturji Kotwal and Dasturji JamaspAsa wrote to the Chief Minister and a meeting fixed that Dasturji Kotwal and I attended, when all doubts raised by Dasturji Kotwal about the tracks passing below the Sanctum Santorum were laid to rest.

3. Mr. Hosi Dastur, Trustee of Wadiaji Atashbehram and Respondent no. 12 in Writ Petition 2870 of 2018 contacted me on 28th September 2018 requesting to arrange a meeting with Prime Minister Modi to discuss the Metro issue to which I conveyed to him that one cannot directly contact the Prime Minister but has to follow due protocol.

4. Upon the request of Mr. Hosi Dastur I arranged a meeting at Delhi with Railway Minister Mr. Piyush Goyal on 1st October 2018, which was attended by him, Advocate Mr. Zerick Dastur (Advocate for Petitioners), an architect from Mr. Hafeez Contractor’s office and me.

5. Upon the advice of Mr. Goyal I arranged a meeting at Mumbai on 3rd October with Mrs. Ashwini Bhide, Managing Director of MMRC. Mrs. Bhide very clearly conveyed to Mr. Hosi Dastur that whilst both Dasturji Kotwal and I were pleading the case to realign the tracks, he chose to malign us and join hands with Mr. Jamshed Sukhadwalla (Petitioner No.1) who she perceived had a vested interest in the matter as he has his residence and office in buildings that were proposed to be acquired.

6. On 6th October 2018, I arranged for a meeting with Chief Minister of Maharashtra Mr. Fadnavis that was attended by Messrs Hosi Dastur, Advocate Mr. Zerick Dastur, Mr. Berjis Desai (Petitioner No.5), Architect Mr. Hafeez Contractor with his team and me, when the Chief Minister advised that he should be contacted again after the cabinet meeting scheduled on 9th October 2018 when Mrs. Ashwini Bhide would also be present.

7. On 9th October 2018 the meeting with the Chief Minister, Mrs. Ashwini Bhide and technical officers of MMRC that was attended by prominent community members and detailed discussions held. I was not present at that meeting.

8. On 10th October 2018 I met Mr Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of State, Housing & Urban Affairs (Independent Charge) in Delhi whose Ministry is in charge of Metro Rail and requested him to use his good offices to recommend the re-alignment of about 7 metres as was advised by independent tunnelling experts. Upon my request the Minister forwarded my recommendation to the Govt. of Maharashtra to respect the sentiments of the Parsi community.

9. On 15th October I arranged another round of meeting with Representatives of our Parsi Community (Messrs Hosi Dastur and Architect Hafeez Contractor) and Officials from MMRC along with Mr. S.K. Gupta, Technical Director MMRC in which we discussed the various options of realignment of the project.

10. On 26th October 2018 I sent a letter to the Honourable Prime Minister, (through Mr. Sanjay Bhavsar, Officer on Special Duty to the Prime Minister) requesting him to kindly request Hon. Prime Minister to send the necessary directions to the State Government for the realignment of Tunnel upto 7m. I have also mentioned in this communication As this is a serious issue of sanctity and spirituality of our Fire temples, the religious sentiments of our Zoroastrian (Parsi) Community are being hurt.  My humble request for the Honourable Prime Minister to forward the letter to the concerned Ministry and to issue the necessary instructions”.

11. I was informed that The Office of the Prime Minister acting upon my request sent a letter no. 670/61/C/01/2018-ES-I to the Chief Minister on the same day (26th October 2018).

 All the individuals named above who participated in the meetings arranged will vouch that my stand was clear, not to comprise but to seek realignment of the tunnel by 7 metres.

To further put the record straight, in respect of an allegation “The Metro authorities had put forward the affidavit of Khurshed Dastur in their defence in the High Court where he gave a permission to the Metro authorities to let Metro run under the Atash Behrams” is bereft of truth, absolutely false, fictitious and misleading.

I emphasize that I have never given any permission or any affidavit to MMRC for the tunnel or to the court. Let those who indulge in such Ahrimanic untruths share the details of where and when, and before which authorities, the imaginary permissions or affidavits have been recorded.

Those who make such ludicrous statements based on figments of their imagination, hatred and animosity should look within and ask of themselves if they are worthy of being followers of Prophet Asho Zarathushtra.

I have made known the true facts as they exist and will not respond to any further manipulations that vested interests will surely write about based on conjecture, fallacies and falsehoods.

May good sense prevail in the community.

Dasturji Khurshed K. Dastoor,
High Priest – Iranshah.
Member – Zoroastrian,
National Commission For Minorities.

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