Free flats for Parsis on the anvil

By Nauzer Bharucha, / TNN

In a city where a decent two-BHK apartment within 30 km of the business district is the exclusive domain of crorepatis, the Bombay Parsi Punchayat (BPP) will sell almost 75 flats in Panthaky Baug, Andheri (East), to low-income community members at a rock-bottom rate of Rs 2,400 a square foot.

This, in an area where property prices are pegged at more than Rs 10,000 a sq ft. Each of these flats will cost between Rs 17.86 lakh and Rs 20.52 lakh for a built-up area, varying from 732 sq ft to 760 sq ft.

Proceeds from the sale of these apartments and another upcoming high-end tower at Nepean Sea Road will go into the construction of 300 additional flats at Panthaky Baug, which will be allotted to community members free of cost, based on the punchayat’s merit-rating system. "The court has directed us to construct these flats within the next two years,” said BPP chairman Dinshaw Mehta.

In a city of more than 15 million people, the Zoroastrians comprise barely 45,000. The BPP, last week, invited applications from Parsi-Irani Zoroastrians for these flats after the charity commissioner recently dismissed a case filed by some community members, who wanted to prohibit the punchayat from selling flats on ownership basis.

The over-350-year-old BPP, which looks after the welfare of the community and controls about 5,000 flats in Mumbai, has a waiting list of almost 1,000 people for housing. Usually, priority is given to homeless people or married couples, who do not have a proper accommodation. In the past, there have been allegations against the BPP of not properly implementing the merit-rating system.

Recently, the Bombay high court appointed former high court judge B N Srikrishna to decide the allotment of 104 flats by the then trustees of the punchayat. An organisation, Alert Zoroastrian Association (AZA), has been opposing the BPP’s move to sell flats to rich Parsis and ignoring the needs of the poor within the community. But countering this charge, the punchayat says its cross-subsidy scheme is the only way it can raise money to build more houses for the lower-income Zoroastrians.

A 16-storey residential tower with a swimming pool that the BPP is constructing at Godrej Baug on Nepean Sea Road is expected to fetch the trust Rs 80 crore, which will be ploughed back into building the 300 flats at Andheri. However, this high-end tower is already creating rumblings within a section of the community, mainly because it is coming up in close vicinity of Dakhmas or the Towers of Silence.

"We have been objecting to this skyscraper because it is close to the Dakhmas, but the punchayat has not responded to our concerns,” said Adi Doctor, editor of the community newsletter, the Parsee Voice. The AZA too has questioned if a charitable trust should waste its resources constructing such a plush tower for rich Parsis.

Mehta, however, said the skyscraper is being built several hundred metres from the nearest Dakhma. "We have planned to set up a screen, which will block the view of the Dakhmas,” he said.

  • just don’t put windows on the side that face the dakhmas…surely only a plain wall can solve the problem

  • Anti – Dhongidox.

    Adi Doctor should get support from WAPIZ who claim to be preservibg and protcting our Religion.
    Alternatively, Adi Doctor should realize that even according to BPP it is the end of the road for DKHM and the talk of Aviary project is intended to just to throw dust in the eyes of simpletons.

  • Roda,
    Why should there be no windows.Rather there should be a balcony. Because, shortly the authorities want to create a heaven on earth type atmosphere. In fact one fanatic bigot on P.Khabar has gone to the extent of saying that the scenario after Aviary project takes off will resemble Singapore type night safari.
    So why ‘deny’ this chance of ‘enjoying’ scenic marvel to those who will be paying through their noses to purchase apartments in the proposed new building.

  • Hanoz

    This makes sense.

  • Neville

    How do u stop the outsiders constructing big towers- there is a 35 storey ( may go upto 70 are the rumours) building comming up adjacent to Q block. And how are we tackling the grand paradi non parsee inmates – it is almost in the doongerwadi junglle- at leat the last wing. These are petty issues some organisations are coming forth with. As someone just mentioned – a clever architech can design the buildiung in such a way that the dokhma side remains unexposed – without windows. I think BPP is doing a good job on this.

  • gudi pestanjee patel

    This should have been done years ago.wel!! Der AAye Durast
    AAye.we have been told many a times that 1000 odd applications are pending with BPP For housing.If 75% of applicants get houses by these means community will be very happy, dokhma side windows and its view etc are all sacondary problems and can be delt with scintifically.

  • There is nothing to be ecstatic about. What would be the rate per sq foot and more importantly, how many Parsees in middle and upper middle income group can afford a monthly outgoing/maintenance of over Rs.20,000/.
    Sorry to disturb day dreaming friends.

  • Pingback: Mumbai, Free Flats for Parsis | Parsi News Zoroastrian News()

  • Its High Time that the so called Decent community called Parsis, should now try to take Falts on their own, & that the parsi Panchayat should now stop this.
    Can any single Parsi show me that a Hindu Young man is been given this type of facility by the Hindu community.
    I Today Salute the young Generations of my new found Religion Hinduism, as they learn very fast the true meaning of livehood, as on the other hand the young man of my nowadays most hateable religion called Parsiism are not willing to face hardships as they know that the panchayat is there to take care of his.
    if the younger ones are to be made bold to face the world then my request to the panchayat that please do not give away Flats at a throw away rates, but give it at the Prevailing Market Rates, so that the young Couples would be able to know the true meaning of livehood,as the young couples from my new religion Hunduism are able to face any hardships in this ungratefull world, where there people who do not see the Happiness of one United Family.
    I am Really sorry to have written about my own once a upon a time the most loveable Religion Called Parsi, but now I am forced to write as i now a days hate to be associated with it, due to jealous Parsis females & males who are responsible for breaking our once united house of Patels.
    Jai Hind.

  • Dinyar

    I think this is great news….Housing is still the biggest hurdle for anyone staying in Mumbai, If the BPP is helping needy Parsis why is everyone opposing it?
    Anyways, i am really thrilled and happy with this news…..

  • Behram Dhabhar

    Dear Ronnie,

    It is rather unfortunate that some Parsis have created an enmity amongst your once united family. It is safer to maintain distance from such people, but to say that all Parsis create disunity is wrong. You cannot use this as an example to paint the entire commnunity with one brush.

    Are you implying that the Hindu community which in your own words is your new found religion does not have any bad apples ?

    Your statement : “request to the panchayat that please do not give away Flats at a throw away rates, but give it at the Prevailing Market Rates” will have the AZA running after your blood.

  • gudi pestanjee

    Dear Ronnie.Our community is not just so called it is a decent and humble to the core!! we dont convert peoples to our belif and religion to increase our numbers for global representation insted we prefer to extinct with purity of our bloodline. i know some fellow zorastrian might have done somthing wrong in your part but that doesnt make our entire community bad . your choice of migration of faith is entirely up to you but you could have given thought about islam also.(where u R permitted to keep 4 wives oficially!!!)
    you said hinduism is your new found religion!!!ronnie every zorastrian born to mother india is hindu first the relegion of land hinduism is his first religion but you are previlleged by non other then al mighty to be zorastrian and that will last till you live.Brothr when you are in trouble just recite yatha and ashem and feel the miracle of manthra vani !! zorastrianism is all abut our rituals our chants our dicciplines and purity of blood line we were from our ancesters time a one big family and till to day we are the same our elders have left
    us their hard earned savings for our troubled times and to day we thankfully make use of it to houes our brothers and sisters under one roof Pardon me but if you give me one name from your new found religion that has left anything for you !!! Brothers and sisters of community please forgive our brother ronnie for being bitter on us and prey dadar for welbiengof him and his loved ones.

  • gudi pestanjee

    with this I thank all our elders who have contributed generously to make mumbai parsi panchayat and all its assets-
    for us and our next generations. & those who have managed it self lessly to grow many fold till now.
    we are fortunate to born and live as zorastrians, Small differances in thinking and opinion does not separate us but voicing our views makes us to come closer my reply to my brother ronnie is not an outburst of individual but i am sure every zorastrian feels same.

  • Yes I do not yes that there are only good apples in the hindu community, In all the communites you find bad ones also, but what i am trying to put it across is that why is it that only the parsees are given such facility of housing, is not wrong that the person fom the other community has to earn hard for buying a flat, least of all one small room in a chawl, then why are the Parsees geting the housings at a throw away price & why should it appy to only one community & why not the others, please do not forget that the parsees are what today is due to the kind heart of the Hindus.
    Please do forgive me for writing aganist, my main objective is to make the yong generations of the Parsees more strong hearted so that they can face the realities in the world.
    Also so that they cannot depend on the Panchyat all the time,that is my objective.
    Please do excuse me for all the provocative writings but i want the community to improve & all the youngsters not to interfere in anybody’s private affairs.
    Jai Hind.
    Ronnie Patel.

  • dear gudi,
    I am really sorry for hurting your feelings, but what about the trauma i had gone through for the past 3 to 4 years. can the community give me back my peace of mind & also can the community give me back my loved ones who had to suffer due to those undcent parsees.
    I m not able to describe all in one letter or one word.
    If you would had been in my shoes what would you had done & what i & my family had gone through if any other would ha been in my place he or she would had commited sucide, which i had not done.
    Can the people who know about whom i had indirectly writen about give me my good old days of my life back, can they give me my adopted daughter back to me, i know that they would not be able to giv me my most lovable daughter back.
    sorry for hurting your feelings.
    Brother Ronnie.

  • Ronnie,
    For your information Jains are constructing subsidized housing for members of their own community and Bohras are intending to redevelop Bhindi Bazar areas for rehousing their own community members in reconstructed.
    With dwindling numbers,in next fifty years the word Parsee will be a paragraph in history and if you concede this, then for whom the munificent funds left by our ancestors should go?
    Let the present generation enjoy the benefits. As I see it, there is no proverbial day after to morrow for the Community in India. Just look at Mumbai Fire Temples having 3 to 4 devotees every day and the Trustees of such Fire Temples selling well water just to maintain the premises due to obduracy of a handful who claim to preserve and protect.Try to look at it in this perspective.
    Regards.

  • Jamshedji Bandukwala

    Hi Ronie,
    So U are a hindu now? Or is that a thing of the past and u are now something else. The easiest way to extract revenge on people who hurt u and your dear ones is to probably become a muslim, then a jehadi and knock them all off. That way U would also be in the record books as the first bawa-atankwadi. But will that solve your problems.

    Running away from religion – has that really helped U run away from the people who hurt U? If yes – How?

    I am not hurt with your strong words. But me and many like me, feel for U. What hurt U so bad that U decided to go against all parsees? May Ahura Mazda give U the strength to come to peace with yourself and all your problems.

    May U see true light and becomes a committed devotee soon. Although i love to say Jai Jind (because its for the country not for Hindi religion), I wld first say, Kshnowthare Ahure Mazdao.

  • Dear Brother.
    I am vey sorry for the outbrust. Please put yourself in my place & who sould you feel if i myself (Example)bring enimity between your loved ones like mom,dad,brother & sisters, most of all if i try to spoil your good Reputation in front of the world. Worst if i stab you in the back after geting all the help from you.
    Also i am really sorry for hurting my community people’s feelings.
    It was just an out burst of Hot Temper against the people whom had always stabbed me after geting help like cash, Jobs & most important created enimity between we brother & my Darling Loveable sisters.
    I am Really ashamed. please try to fair enough & judged for yourslf all that i had written.
    With Due Respect to all my community people.
    Bro Ronnie.

  • gudi pestanjee patel

    Dear Rnnie,
    We can not turn the clock back to give you what you have lost.but we will prey for you brother!! you like it or not but we are wih you.

  • Dear Gudi,
    I am really overwhelmed with joy that there is someone to join me in my hour of grief.
    I do not have words to describe you & your kind heart.
    Please do forgive me for the outbrst.
    I am really happy to have you as my fellow companion in life who is more sensible than those people who only have one motive in their life “Just to create enimity between the memvers of any ones Families.
    Please do accept me as one of your brother.
    If you will reply that you had already accepted me as your brother i shall be very glad.
    With Due Respect to you.
    Ronnie.

  • farzana

    What kind of freaking logic is this, just because rich within the Hindus don’t have heart to do charity for less fortunates within their community… Parsis should also stop utilizing charities meant for them. Are you ok?

    And since you are no longer a part of the community, you should stop worrying about our youngsters….

    R.P==> “please do not forget that the parsees are what today is due to the kind heart of the Hindus.”

    Kharey khar you are hilarious… If hindus had such ‘Kind Hearts’ ,as you put it, wont they apply their magnanimity to their own?

    Going by your logic…we can also argue that Hindu minority survived for thousands of years in Afghanistan and western Pakistan only because of tolerance of Parsis and Parsi kings who ruled over those areas that encompassed Persian Empire. So hindus are doing no favour dear…they are just paying back our kindness.
    Understood? Next time study your history well.. before you yap here.

    .