Parsi Punchayat allowed to allot flats

The Bombay Parsi Punchayat (BPP) on Thursday won a major reprieve when the charity commissioner lifted its stay on allotment of flats to deserving community members.

“Over 200 flats will be freed up,” said BPP trustee Kersi Randeria. The panchayat has a waiting list of close to 1,000 applicants, but Randeria opines that those actually deserving would be around 500 to 600.

He said priority would be given to those who have no accommodation or like a family residing in a notorious red-light area of the city. “We are in no tearing hurry. The BPP will first frame a transparent, open housing policy,” he added.

In the past, the panchayat has been criticized for auctioning its flats to the highest bidder. Rich Parsis managed to corner apartments in baugs, which were built almost a century ago to house poor community members.

For instance, at the landmark Cusrow Baug at Colaba, apartments were auctioned for nearly Rs 5 crore each some years ago. These flats are not sold, but given on leave-and-licence to the highest bidder. The BPP claimed that the money raised from such auctions is used to subsidize housing for the less-privileged in the community.