Punchayet Trustee Quits Before Polls

Slams Parsi Co-Trustees For Mismanagement

A Bombay Parsi Punchayet (BPP) trustee, Muncherji Cama, resigned from his post on Friday just a few months ahead of the next round of BPP elections.

Article by Nergish Sunavala | Times Of India

“The functioning of the BPP is beyond repair,“ he wrote in a scathing resignation letter, which was also forwarded to the Charity Commissioner’s office. “Leadership is absent and there is no direction or value system in place.“ Underlining his lack of faith in the current crop of elected trustees, Cama suggested that the Charity Commissioner appoint an administrator, whose powers would supersede that of his six colleagues, to oversee the trust’s functioning. In his letter, Cama, who is also MD of Bombay Samachar, lobbed accusations against his co-trustees, including a lack of financial probity , a willingness to fritter away funds on pointless litigation and unparliamentary barbs at weekly meetings.

On Friday , BPP Chairman Dinshaw Mehta was still hope ful that Cama would rescind his resignation. “He is fed up because there are over 100 vacant flats, which aren’t being allotted to people who deserve them,“ said Mehta. “My colleagues got an order not to allot anything as long as I’m there.We are trying to convince him that we will try to get the status quo modified.“ The BPP , the city’s biggest private landlord controlling over 4,500 flats, will have its polls in September end. It’s likely that a new candidate for Cama’s seat will also be chosen at that time.

Backed by the community’s reformist sections, Cama won his BPP seat in 2011 against a member of the orthodox World Alliance of ParsiIrani Zarthoshtis (WAPIZ).The hotly contested election, which involved much mudslinging, widened the rift between the orthodox and reformist factions creating a deadlock in a trust that functions on the basis of majority voting. Most recently , Mehta was accused of attempting to throw a chair at a member of the orthodox faction, Yazdi Desai, who in turn called him and his family “chors“.

Cama said the turning point came around two years ago, when an elderly Parsi couple, sleeping on plastic chairs outside their dilapidated apartment, were turned away by the trust without being allotted a home.

Not all the trustees, however, agreed with Cama’s assessment. Khojeste Mistree, who belongs to the opposingorthodox faction said, “If Munchi would have supported us on so many schemes, I think the poor would have benefited.“ He pointed out that a few trustees wanted to allot houses to those who had been cleared by the board before the stay order came into place but Cama and others from the reformist faction insisted on “all or nothing“.

Khojeste also strongly opposed Cama’s suggestion regarding an administrator. “It’s misplaced and quite vicious,“ he said. “If the community elects people to run an institution bringing the government in doesn’t help. It is important to resolve our difference among ourselves.“