Some community members say charity commissioner’s nod was not taken for deal.
BD Petit Parsee General Hospital’s (PGH) bid to beat financial blues by opening a new hospital for all on its premises has hit a rough patch with a Hong Kong-based philanthropist couple saying they would withdraw their pledge of donating $22.5 million (around Rs 162 crore) if opposition to the project from within the community is not resolved.
Global Health (P) Ltd, a Medanta Group company that was to operate, equip and manage the new hospital proposed to be built on a portion of the 10-acre Breach Candy property worth Rs 2,000 crore, has also said that it will terminate its agreement unless a resolution is worked out. A deadline of March 31, 2019, has been set to resolve the issues.
The project has been mired in a controversy ever since some members of the Parsi community and advocate Khushru Zaiwala moved the charity commissioner, seeking dismissal of the hospital’s managing committee for striking the deal with Medanta without taking the commissioner’s approval and making the details public.
Homa Petit, president of the 106-yearold Petit General Hospital, said that Jal and Pervin Shroff of Hong Kong have informed the managing committee that that they will withdraw their offer of donating $22.5 million to the hospital if the internal issues are not resolved within March 31 next year.
Trying to keep the deal afloat, Petit has made a fervent appeal to the Parsi-Zoroastrian community to not get swayed by some “misguided people in the community” and issued a five-page clarification about the agreement with Medanta.
He said that that the multi-specialty hospital, proposed to be called Shroff Medical Centre, will be run by Global Health (P) Ltd for a secular use and will specially cater to cancer patients. In the process, the new facility will cross-subsidise the existing loss-making hospital.
“No part of the land on which the new hospital is to be erected will be alienated but will continue as a community asset. Medanta will only have operating, equipping and management rights for the new hospital. Medanta shall have no rights to the new hospital building, nor the land. Medanta will pay a yearly annuity of Rs 12 crore for the first 30 years and if the period is extended, it will pay annuity of Rs 18 crore for the next 15 years,” the statement said.
He further stated that they had taken legal advice to ensure that it does not breach the provisions of the Trust Deed/Rules and Regulations of PGH by entering into the new hospital project.
“Three-four months ago, a few people from the community started raising questions about the viability of the new hospital project. They alleged that project was ill-conceived and costs were inflated. We made attempts to offer clarifications and shared with them details, including the financial aspects of the project. But some gentlemen started personal attacks on social media. We are contemplating appropriate action, including legal action, against them,” said Petit.
When contacted, advocate Rayomand Zaiwala, son of Khushru Zaiwala, accused the managing committee of PGH of trying to transfer Rs 2,000-crore worth of prime Bombay Parsi Punchayat Trust property to a third party without even being the legally appointed trustees in the first place. “It did so without the permission of the Charity Commissioner and sealed a secret agreement with Medanta. But the Trust Deed of 1906 created by PGH founder Bomanji Petit, registered with the Charity Commissioner Office, clearly says that the hospital is a registered Public Charity Trust with the Bombay Parsi Panchayat Trust being its exclusive trustee,” he alleged.
He further claimed that the committee tried to keep the transfer agreement a “closely guarded secret” for one year till it was leaked out recently by some “wellwishers”.
Ironically enough, the Bombay Parsi Punchayat Trust has come out in support of the project. The Trust’s chairman Yazdi Desai told Mirror that they had been kept in the loop about PGH’s plan. “It will be a cosmopolitan, secular hospital. At present, PGH is running in losses and facing closure. This new hospital is needed to keep PGH alive. The Punchayat fully supports this project.”