A Hong Kong-based Parsi tycoon and his wife on Saturday renewed their pledge to donate $22.5 million (Rs 160 crore) to the financially-ailing Parsi General Hospital (PGH) at Breach Candy in south Mumbai.
The couple, Jal and Pervin Shroff, had earlier set a March 31 deadline to resolve the fierce opposition by some Parsi activists against a controversial deal signed between the PGH managing committee and Gurugram-based Medanta Group.
Article by Nauzer K. Bharucha | Times of India
Two separate cases have been filed before the charity commissioner, challenging the deal, which the applicants – advocate Khusru Zaiwala, Zoru Bhathena and Aspi Deboo – said is a “sellout”.
The statement issued by the Shroffs on Saturday triggered speculation in a section of the community that the Medanta deal had been called off. However, when TOI contacted Jal Shroff in Hong Kong, he said, “It would not be correct to say the deal has been called off.” He refused to comment further.
Shroff’s statement emailed to this newspaper, said: “Regarding our original pledge of $22.5 million to ensure the future viability of the Parsee General Hospital, we, Pervin & Jal Shroff, had set a deadline of March 31, 2019, which regrettably has now lapsed. After our recent discussions with the members of the executive committee and the honorary doctors of the Parsee General Hospital we wish to clearly state that we shall continue to support the hospital in any way deemed prudent and financially sound to ensure the PGH’s “future survival and well being.”
Early last week, eminent Parsi doctors who treat Parsi patients at PGH appealed to the Shroffs not to withdraw their donation and to extend the March 31 deadline. They supported the agreement with Medanta, stating that it is “one of the very best and most prestigious state-of-the-art medical institutions in the country”.
Under the agreement, a new hospital building with Shroff’s donation will be built on part of the 10-acre PGH property. This new building will then be handed over to Medanta to operate for up to 45 years and part of the proceeds and profits from the new hospital will cross-subsidise the old hospital.
“We are given a legal assurance that Medanta will equip and manage the Shroff Medical Centre for a fixed time frame, with no title and interest in the building, land and complex, merely to manage the hospital with no hint of alienation of the community property,” said the doctors in a signed letter.
On Saturday, the two activists, Bhathena and Deboo, who have raised the legal challenge against the Medanta deal, wrote to the doctors: “You all are requested to please first read the agreement between PGH and Medanta before issuing such appeals. Surely none of you are aware of the facts, or else you would never ever have written such an erroneous and misleading appeal.’’
“Are our esteemed doctors aware that Rs 160 crore is being donated to build a two lakh sq ft unfurnished building (with no equipment or beds)?” they asked. “Are our doctors aware that a two lakh sq ft building costs just about Rs 60 crore to build and not Rs 160 crore?”
Bhathena and Deboo further questioned the doctors if they knew that a bare unfurnished building will be handed over to Medanta for 45 years on a Rs 100 stamp paper.
“No stamp duty is being paid and there is no registration of the agreement. Also there is no legal permission obtained to allow Non-parsi patients inside a Parsi-only Trust Hospital. Would any of these Doctors hand over any of their own properties without following basic legal paperwork?” they asked.