Mumbai : Boman Irani, chairman of Rustomjee Builders, has said that going vertical is the only option for the Parsi baugs. He was talking on the last day (Monday) of the 10th World Zoroastrian Congress at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel stadium at Haji Ali.
“Redevelopment is a certainty,” said Irani “It is not a question of ‘whether it will happen’ but ‘when it will happen’ ” he added.
The city has several colonies for Parsis owned mainly by Bombay Parsi Punchayat which provides affordable housing to Parsi families. The biggest is the Parsi colony at Dadar which is home to 10,000 Parsis. Cusrow Baug is another big Parsi colony at Colaba where over 600 Parsi families stay.
Irani and Zareer Bhatena, also a builder, were talking to the congress on ‘Scope of redevelopment of Parsi Baugs and properties’.
The session was chaired by Jimmy Mistry, former Trustee of Bombay Parsi Panchayat.
“The government is coming up with the redevelopment scheme and providing extra FSI. Grab the opportunity with both the hands, said Mehta. Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan announced in early December that the decision on cluster development in Mumbai will be taken in a month.
Irani further said that “The Parsi community is used to living the old way and the thought of redevelopment for them is painful. But change is taking place under the feet of the community, ” he quipped.
The question and answer session saw the audience enthusiastically asking questions, thereby underlining the importance of this issue that they felt.
Answering the question raised by a Parsi gentleman who expressed his concern about redevelopment projects getting stuck after the eviction of people, Irani stressed the need for a bank guarantee given by the builder. On the question of strain on public infrastructure due to increased population density as a result of high-rises, the speakers emphasized the space that gets freed after the vertical redevelopment of an area. However, no question was asked about the practices of the builders to neglect the allocation of free spaces in their redevelopment plans. The Supreme Court recently said that ‘minimum free space cannot be reduced and it must be provided on ground and not on podium alone’.
Issues like cross subsidisation during the redevelopment process to accommodate the relatively poor Parsi families, embellishment of redeveloped buildings with Pasi motifs to retain the cultural identity were also discussed.