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OPEN LETTER TO THE TRUSTEES OF THE BPP

MEASURE WHAT IS MEASURABLE : LEAVE THE REST TO DESTINY
By: Dr. Syrus D. Irani (Mahim)

Sirs/Madam,

A circular to the residents of Contractor Baug at Mahim was received only a day prior to the levy of Rs.750/- as enhanced service charges over and above Rs.215/- plus Rs.50/- (additional voluntary) i.e. a burden of Rs.1015/- per month at one go. This was shocking and not anticipated by the poor and middle class residents of this Baug. It is of course payable as the Chairman himself has signed the Circular.

If Bombay Parsi Punchayat (BPP) had implemented 5% increase of license fees every year as mandated by Maharashtra Rent Control Act 1999, poor residents may not have faced difficulties today. Trust funds and properties were created by philanthropists to benefit the poor in the matter of housing. Today ownership housing and rental is out of the reach of the middle class Parsees, who form 90% of the community. To cut matters short, we request the Board to redress our just grievances:

  1. Consumption of electricity in our Baug by installing 50 tubes and 10 flood lights by the Contractor as appointed recently to resurface the Baug must be curtailed with immediate effect as these many are not needed for our small Baug. The electricity consumed inflates the BPP electricity bill every month by 200%.
  2. Additional Rs.50/- security charges must be discontinued. This was made voluntary by the previous Board but now mandated by the custodians since 2013.
  3. Exorbitant domestic water charges levied for the period April to December 2015 (i.e. for 9 months) must be withdrawn. I was informed by the Water Department of the G-North Ward as to why such inflated bill was sent to the BPP and accordingly I had sent the working and the drawbacks to the BPP in March 2016, but till date I have not received any reply. The custodian here has been demanding the bill to be paid by us. Water charges to the shop premises are not being paid by the shop owners since 1997. And even today it has not been paid as was informed to me by the Water Department of G-North Ward. These shop owners must be charged at commercial rates including repair charges. Shop No. C-7 is used by a Muslim from 11 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. as a residence but closed in the daytime. I may remind the BPP that there are other beneficiaries in the community who need such shop premises.
  4. Extra13th month rent since 1991 must be discontinued or must be restricted to rent/license fees only. Inclusion of property tax and other permissible taxes for the 13th month, which are not payable to the concerned deemed authorities, must not be levied.
  5. Demand by the custodian to pay service charges from 1997 through 1999 must not be levied, as service charges during the period before Maharashtra Rent Control Act 1999 was not existent. My request to the Accountant to send me the breakup of the service charge during the period has not be complied to-date.
  6. Use of security personnel for running water pumps must be introduced and proper, alert personnel must be contracted by BPP and not by any committee who may not have cross checked the antecedents of the personnel contracted as per directions of security board and/or the local police station.
  7. Deep rooted trees are planted haphazardly in the baug. These must be replanted in the designated gardens. Such trees in bloom will damage the property in the baug in the future. These have also created disharmony with the vehicle owners and some residents of the baug. Recently charges for parking have also been doubled.

MAY I SUGGEST:

  1. BPP can augment funds (which is the prime duty of the trustees), which can be achieved by installation of “Cell Towers” (on the platform created near Papa Building) on a pedestal to avoid harmful effects of the rays and allow only receivers (and not transmitters) which are not harmful. These when installed will fetch a minimum of Rs.12 Lakhs and maximum Rs.25 lakhs per annum. These funds can be utilised for the repairs of our building and also other sundry electrical and plumbing works in order not to burden the poor residents.
  2. Surrounding of F-building must be urgently looked into as rodents may have damaged the very foundation of the building. This was requested by the residents of the building but the adamant contractor, who was given a free hand with Punchayet’s Rs.21 lakhs fund, did not comply with their request.
  3. Godrej Foundation building is not sound and must be redeveloped. I am aware of the history of this building and how much money BPP received in 1971 from Godrej Foundation. To let the present Board know there is a blueprint of L-shaped building on record with the BPP. This was objected and contested by the Catholic owner of freehold cottage standing in the centre behind Godrej Building facing Zarthosti Building. This blueprint can be implemented now. This pending proposed building plan can be made cosmopolitan and all residents of Palmlands A to D, including the owner of freehold structure, can be accommodated. Two high rise towers can be built in place of Palmlands A to D, which holds an FSI of 4 plus Godrej Foundation Building FSI. Palmland buildings were built much before 1960. I am also aware of FSI of two existing buildings in Contractor Baug, that were flouted by the then BPP Architect. This can also be done away with and a recreation centre can be built as per BMC Law of 1992, which holds good for 1500 square feet free of FSI, including the mandated 15% garden space. I had in 2002 tried to utilize this rule, but had to withdraw as two floors in two buildings (no names please) have not followed the FSI rules by the then architect.
  4. All those whose licenses are not renewed in the stipulated timeframe can and will become tenants. These licensees can pressurise the BPP to convert their licenses into tenancy. Maharashtra Rent Control Act 1999 provides for it.

Yours faithfully,

Dr. Syrus D. Irani
Mahim

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