Fracas in Parsi punchayat over hostel contract
On Tuesday, the trustees of the Bombay Parsi Punchayet (BPP) almost came to blows over the amount paid to the trust by the caterer at a BPP-run boy’s hostel in Tardeo’s Gamadia Colony. According to a Whatsapp message, which went viral after the conflagration, BPP chairman Dinshaw Mehta allegedly attempted to assault co-trustee Yazdi Desai with a chair. Mehta claimed he tripped and held the chair for support. “They’ve twisted things deliberately and malevolently,” Mehta told TOI. “He’s about 45-years-old and I’m 73, yet I’m going to pick up a chair to hit him? It’s ridiculous.” However, he did admit to throwing a pencil and said there was much “slanging and swearing” at the meeting with both sides calling the other “chor”.
At the meeting, Desai had objected to the hostel caterer paying only Rs 20,000 to the BPP though he earned “an average of Rs 3,000 per tiffin per month”. Desai also alleged that the caterer had been functioning without a contract for the past year under Mehta’s protection. “The contractor uses 2,000 sq ft of hostel space and unlimited water and electricity,” said Desai. To highlight the issue, Desai stopped paying the hostel’s electricity bill. Mehta was only informed when the meter was about to be removed and had to rush to make the payment.
Members of the community are horrified at the way the trustees are conducting themselves. “They should act their age,” said 23-year-old Hosherdar Polad. “We have a good reputation. Parsis are said to be peaceful people. If this kind of thing comes out, it’s really sad for our community.” Jehangir Patel, editor of Parsiana, a community magazine, agreed. “It is very sad and depressing,” he said. “This is a supposed to be the apex Bombay trust and they are behaving like people in our legislative assembly or parliament.”