AGITATION AGAINST BPP’s INCREASE OF Rs. 750 IN MONTHLY SERVICE CHARGES

After the meeting of the office bearers & Committee Members of the Associations of all BPP Baugs, its activists and residents with the Board of Trustees of BPP on 25th April 2017 regarding the justification of additional increase of Rs. 750/- pm in Service Charges, the Trustees agreed as a special dispensation to exempt and/or give subsidy to all those who can not afford to pay as may be recommended by the delegation members without further embarrassment to the occupants.

Published in the Mumbai Samachar

It also now transpires that aside from Bharucha Baug Association even the Godrej Baug Residents Association were also called by the Trustees to try and disrupt and sabotage the demands of the 25 strong delegation of various Baugs. Probably that is why when the delegation was requesting a roll back of the increase of service charges to Nil or at most double to Rs. 150/ pm as done for Nowroz Baug and Jer Baug, the GBRWA recommended a levy of Rs. 500/ pm as increased service charges for all BPP Baugs.

Thereafter activist Phiroze Amroliwalla arranged a personal meeting with Noshir Dadrawalla when Pervez Driver was also present at Gaylord restaurant on 03-05-2017.

It is learnt that at the said meeting Noshir Dadrawalla expressed genuine anguish at the several representations and complaints being received by him against this increase of Rs. 750/- pm to reconsider it though originally he was a part of the group that approved it ( though Viraf Mehta and Armaity Tirandaz had not approved it) and was willing to reconsider the whole issue of the need for Increase as well as its Quantum. He further expressed that Zareer Bhathena was also not happy at the increase as he was not present in November 2016 when it was first approved. Zareer felt that the increase was irrational as a single room occupant was equated with an occupant of 5 RK flat and Baugs having various amenities were treated equally to those without such amenities.

Noshir Dadrawalla further expressed dismay that the Refundable Deposit Scheme is not being revived as then BPP would have enough funds and this burden of Increase would then not be needed.

Noshir Dadrawalla then cited the example of a 5 RK flat at Ness Baug occupied by a non Parsi husband of the Parsi tenant for which the earlier Trustees had filed an eviction suit. He informed that last June 2016 the Trustees in their claim to reduce litigation had filed Consent Terms in that Suit and paid off the Parsi Tenant Rs. 150 lakhs (Rs. 1.5 crores) and obtained vacant possession of the flat with a view to re-auction it and earn a handsome profit. However since the last one year, one Trustee was adamant in his opposition to allow auction for giving the flat to highest bidder of Refundable Security Deposit on Leave License basis. Noshir expressed dismay that though he had a party who was willing to offer Rs.400 lakhs (Rs. 4 Crore) to BPP for the said flat for acquiring it on L.L. basis and yet it was not being done due to this Trustee.

He further expressed anguish that so many occupants want to encash their tenancy on 50:50 basis and thus the financial crunch could ease tremendously and Trustees could even revoke this Increase.

He further expressed that at present the board is divided in to three factions.

Noshir Dadrawalla promised that upon his return from Iran on 19-05-2017 he along with Zareer Bhathena would have the issue of Increase reconsidered. Let us wait and watch the events at next board meeting of 30-05-2017.

At this stage it is worth highlighting that the BPP Trust has lost interest of Rs. 12 to 15 lakhs for one year so far on Rs. 1.5 crores paid to the outgoing tenant in June 2016. It is hoped that he will be able to prevail upon his Colleagues to auction the flat at the earliest after giving Public Notice. This is a Ness Baug flat and Ness Baug is actually not a part of the original Wadia Baugs and hence the full Deposit amount can be credited to BPP Account and not to Wadia Committee of BPP Accounts as being malafidely claimed by Yazdi Desai that the Wadia Committee of BPP is a separate administrative body from the BPP and even that the Consent Terms and High Court Orders do not apply to Wadia Committee of BPP.

Everything belongs to BPP and all Baugs including the Wadia Baugs belong to BPP and the Trustees of Wadia Baugs are Trustees of BPP and yet an artificial divide is sought to be portrayed just to avoid admitting that BPP is in profit of Rs. 6 to 16 crores every year, siphoning off the main income to the Wadia Committee of BPP, to justify their unjust increase in service charges and parking charges.

As per the original Trust Deed of erstwhile R. N. and N. N. Wadia Trusts, 4 Baugs are the original properties of the erstwhile Wadia Trust – Cusrow Baug, Rustom Baug, Jer Baug and Nowroz Baug. All these 4 Baugs were conveyed lock stock and barrel in 1954 to the BPP as per the will of Jerbai Wadia who did not want any of her descendants to have any control of Wadia Baugs due to conversion to Christianity of one of them and the Wadia Trust ceased to exist since that time. Its Registration number with the Charity Commissioner was also cancelled by the office of the Charity Commissioner.

Of course as major Property Developers, the Wadias are very keen to revive its Registration Certificate with Charity Commissioner as advised by Counsel Daraius Khambatta long back but wiser counsels seem to have prevailed and no such step has been taken so far, not knowing how the Trustees would react.

In 1957 the Trustees of BPP purchased by a Conveyance Deed Ness Baug property from the Trustees of Petit Trust in which Mr. Neville Wadia is also a Confirming Party as the original negotiations were done by Mr. Neville Wadia but after Wadia Trust ceased to exist in 1954, the property was purchased by BPP. Thus Ness Baug is not an original Wadia Baug property but is a property purchased by BPP and hence the forthcoming refundable deposit is technically the property of BPP and not Wadia Committee of BPP. In fact even assuming WCM as a separate administrative body (though legally untenable) all the Deposits and donation of all Ness Baug flats and shops that are lying in the accounts of the Wadia Committee belong to BPP and should be transferred to BPP accounts, though in law all the funds lying in Wadia Committee accounts of BPP belong exclusively to BPP to be used for the welfare of the Parsi Community and all its beneficiaries. Whether the Trustees have the spine to take up this issue and collect the Deposit in BPP directly as and when this Rs. 4 Crore flat is auctioned is now to be seen.