Healthcare group cancels deal to revive Parsi lying-in hospital

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MUMBAI: A private healthcare group, Krimson Health Ventures, appointed to restart a heritage 120-year-old Parsi lying-in hospital in south Mumbai, has terminated its agreement with the hospital’s managing committee and Bombay Parsi Punchayat (BPP).

The deal was termed as a “sell out” by some community activists, who alleged that it was a “raw deal” and heavily loaded in favour of Krimson. The agreement was challenged by the then BPP chairman Dinshaw Mehta in the Supreme Court, which directed status quo be maintained.

The Dr Tehmulji’s Parsi Lying-in Hospital, near New Excelsior cinema off DN Road, built in 1895, has been lying defunct for decades. According to the agreement, Krimson was to redevelop the property into an orthopaedic and neurosurgery centre. In a letter to the hospital’s managing committee on November 3, Krimson director Dr Prakash Khubchandani wrote: “We are completely disgusted with the state of affairs and the inordinate delay in implementing the agreement. The team of experts and renowned doctors who were involved in the project could not let other alternate opportunities slip out of their hands by waiting endlessly. Even after a lapse of four years, there is no certainity…we are hereby terminating the agreement.”

Mehta, who had opposed the deal, told TOI, “They wanted to avoid scrutiny by the Supreme Court of the illegal lease agreement and avoid embarrassment to some of the high-profile managing committee members. Some of these members convinced Krimson to terminate the agreement so that no strictures are passed by the court.”

Mehta contended the BPP should have invited bids by making a public announcement to get the best deal from other players in the healthcare sector. His then co-trustees denied the allegation, stating that the Krimson offer was the best they had received. “Jamsetjee Tata bought this land from the British government and built a hospital for Parsi women, who were dying while trying to give birth,” said Rayomand Zaiwala, a community member who opposed the agreement, adding, “We have to save this property.”

Besides agreeing to a lease rental of Rs 1 crore a year, which would be paid to the BPP, Krimson was to treat 10% of inpatients and outpatients belonging to the Parsi community for free. Under the agreement, Krimson planned to build a new hospital for an estimated Rs 46 crore and allot a 6,000 sq ft area to the BPP (if FSI permits) as an office premise.

Noshir Dadrawala, who is both a trustee and a member of the hospital’s managing committee, said it was now up to those who opposed the proposal to find a better deal. “The High Court gave them the opportunity to present a better proposal but they could not,” he said. Also, he explained that the property would remain under the control of the BPP and those saying otherwise had not bothered to read the proposal.

BPP chairman Yazdi Desai was also in favour of the agreement as he felt it was the best solution for a hospital which has lain defunct for decades. “For the last 20 years, we haven’t been able to get any kind of proper deal,” he said. “We were talking to numerous hospital chains and none of them seemed interested.”

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