Stop the sale of the land at Palghar
This petition had 355 supporters
Iranian Zoroastrian Anjuman of Bombay was set up in the year 1941.
Objects of the Trust :
i. to deal with all matters social and educational for the welfare of the Iranian Zoroastrians;
ii. to start promote and assist educational institutions whether academic, technical, commercial or otherwise for the benefit of the Iranian Zoroastrians;
iii. to assist the poor and helpless Iranian Zoroastrians including widows and orphans and devise ways and means for such assistance and improving their status…”
i. Merwan H. Irani, President & Trustee
ii. Aflatoon Sokhri,
iii. Khodadad P. Irani, Vice President & Trustee,
iv. Dara F. Devlaliwalla,
v. Pervez Irani, Vice President & Trustee,
vi. Gave D. Irani, Vice President & Trustee,
vii. Sarosh Irani, Vice President & Trustee.
Brief History of the land:
By a Deed of Settlement dated 16th January, 1928, the Settlor, Mr. Jamshed Khodaram Irani, so I’m told had 2300 acres of land. Out of that huge land parcel, he only gave about 200 acres of land to his children and donated almost 2000 acres of land to charity. Out of this large land parcel 108 acres went to the care taker of the land, while 440 acres of land was donated for the poor and landless farmers of Thane District and about 500 acres of land was given for the boodhan movement. While most of us are fortunately placed in life so as not to seek the benefit of Mr. Jamshed Khodaram Irani’s charity, however we owe it to the Settlor and his heirs to ensure that the Trustees of the Iranian Zoroastrian Anjuman act wisely by taking the best decision with respect to this land.
The facts as communicated and researched is as under. The decision is now left to the Zoroastrian community to decide as to whether the Trustees of the Iranian Zoroastrian Anjuman are acting in the best possible interest of the community given all the facts.
i. Price of land:
The proposed sale price of the land is Rs.170/- per sq. ft. vis a vis the price of land advertised online on property websites which is between Rs. 450/- to Rs. 500/- per sq. ft. i.e. Rs.75 lakhs vis a vis Rs. 1.5 to 2 crores per acre.
ii. Palghar to be declared a District in May & local trains to start from Dahanu shortly:
The timing of the sale is not appropriate, there is a proposal pending to declare Palghar a district in May of this year, also its only a matter of time when the local trains will start plying to Dahanu road. You can already see the tracks being laid and the new platform is already ready at Dahanu Road. When that happens the prices of land will shoot up and the Trust will benefit more from a sale of land at that point in time.
iii. Credentials of the Directors:
The Trust is intending to sell the land to the Viva group which is linked to Bhai Thakur, the famous (or infamous) land shark or land mafia. Bhai Thakur’s son and brother are directors of Viva Homes Pvt. Ltd. If Viva Homes defaults or delays in making payment of the sale price who is going to file cases to recover money or the interest component with Bhai Thakur in the picture. Also by the time the Charity Commissioner’s permission for sale in favour of Viva Homes is obtained or by the time, the litigation starts most of the present Trustees would have retired. Also what happens if the government seeks to acquire the land while the application for sale is pending with the Charity Commissioner. The Trust will not get the money as the matter will go into litigation for 20 years and the land will get encroached in the meantime.
iv. Land acquisition:
The Trust is considering selling the land on the ground that ONGC may acquire the land. Under the Land Acquisition Act, when the land is acquired, the government awards you compensation which is the market value of the land plus a sum of 30% on such market value (see Section 23 of the Land Acquisition Act). The offer of Viva Group has fixed the market value of the land at Rs.170/- per sq. ft. The Trust will benefit selling to the government if its wants to consider sale of the land as the only available option as the Trust will get a sum of 30% over and above the market value of the land, also the Trust will be assured of receiving the money, if it sells to the government than by taking a chance with a Builder especially a Group associated with a person whose credentials are doubtful.
v. Tax Implications:
The tax implications of such sale will have to be evaluated. Since this land was donated to the trust there is no land acquisition cost. This means that the Trust would have to invest almost the entire sale proceeds in purchase of another property to save on capital gains tax. Investment in bonds is limited to Rs.50 lakhs in one financial year. Now what sense does that make, sell one property to buy another.
vi. Implications on neighbors:
Neither did the Settlor intend nor do the objects of the Trust contemplate causing harm and distress to the Iranian community living in Palghar, Dahanu or Golvad regions. The Trustees have a responsibility to ensure that they consider the implications and repercussions of their actions on the peace loving Zoroastrians and non-zoroastrians residing in the neighboring regions. For the Trust to actually consider sale of land to a land shark is akin to inviting them to set up shop in their backyard.
vii. Commercial factors:
a. The Trust would earn more from breaking up and selling smaller land parcels say about 50 to 100 acres of land at a given point of time than selling 963 acres of land at one go and that too, to one buyer.
b. With a land parcel that large, a developer can make 9 townships on that land, minimum land required for a township is 100 acres of land. Therefore the Trust should considering exploring other viable options like entering into Joint Ventures with Developers, Educational institutions, Hospitals and take reservation in the form of flats, seats and beds respectively which could be sold or rented to the community or outsiders and thereby earn the Trust more income for generations to come and also retain and preserve the sense of identity and philanthropy.
Considering all the factors above, the best option available to the Trust is to explore the proposal for a joint venture development on the land in phases maybe rather than outright sell the land. But I leave this to you to decide. Please vote for or against the proposed sale. I would also encourage the voters to be more proactive and write letters to the Iranian Zoroastrian Anjuman at Kermani Building, 2nd Floor, Sir Phorozshah Mehta Road, Fort, Mumbai-400 001, or email them on firstname.lastname@example.org. You could also mark copies of the letters to jamejamshedonline.com as well as email@example.com and to Mr. Merwan Irani at President.IZA@gmail.com to communicate your opinion.
Looking forward to the community members being more proactive in this matter, we owe it to Mr. Jamshed Khodaram Irani, the Settlor and his legal heirs to ensure that the most beneficial decision is taken by the Trust in this issue.
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