Last week the community was given a vague explanation by the BPP as why they have suddenly increased the service charges from Rs. 150/- to Rs. 900/- per month – without taking into consideration or confidence its beneficiaries.
The majority Trustees in their wisdom increased the service charges by informing the beneficiaries that the BPP is in financial duress and is in the dire need for funds.
All BPP Baug Associations have opposed this unfitting move and written to the BPP to withdraw the same, demanding the beneficiaries first be taken into confidence and a proper step by step increase be introduced.
The figures shown in last weeks Parsi Times (PT) for Financial Year 01-04-2015 to 31-03-2016 do not tally in any way with the audited figures filed with Income Tax Dept. and the office of the Charity Commissioner for the same year .
PT reports Interest Income earned by BPP for F. Y. 2015-16 at Rs. 13.22 Crores whilst the Audited Income Tax Returns filed by BPP shows Interest Income of over Rs. 27.90 Crores that is more than double what was actually disclosed.
The rent & parking charges which beneficiaries pay for gives a further income of over Rs. 9.06 Crores and adding thereto donations received as also hoarding and service charge.
The gross total income of BPP for F.Y. 2015-16 is Rs. 39.98 Crores, as per IT Returns filed.
As against the total income of Rs. 39.98 Crores the BPP incurred the following expenses:-
- The total property tax, water charges, repair cess and establishment expenses amounts to Rs.18.80 crores which includes staff salary of a humongous Rs. 10 crores. Trustees paid legal expenses of Rs. 1.49 crores.
- Miscellaneous Expenses were Rs.1.22 crores
- and Rs. 1.57 crores were transferred to sinking Fund and Gratuity Fund.
- Expenses spent on Objects of the Trust like doles, medical and education help, Doongerwadi, etc were Rs.11 crores.
- Trustees paid legal expenses of Rs. 1.49 crores.
- In all total expenses of the BPP including 50% share of cost of repairs of Rs. 2.82 crores during 2015-16 were actually only Rs. 34.10 crores.
THUS FOR THE YEAR 2015-16, THE BPP EARNED A NET INCOME OF RS. 5.88 CRORES.
The above is what has been disclosed by the BPP to the Income Tax Authorities. The community is unsure on what basis the Chairman has stated that the BPP has incurred a loss of Rs. 6.64 Crores when his very own accounts show a net profit of Rs. 5.58 Crores.
As per the above, the BPP has earned a net profit of Rs. 5.58 Crores. It is to be noted that the BPP incurred Rs. 1.5 Crores on legal fees last year. These legal fees are cases the majority Trustees have paid to fight personal disputes and as such the majority Trustees should be made liable to reimburse the BPP of this sum.
In view of the net excess Income of Rs.5.88 crores of BPP for F. Y. 2015-16, where is the deficit and why then the need to increase Service Charges.
From a review of the PT article last week, it seems that in an attempt to hoodwink the community into believing that the BPP is making a loss, a new excuse was created. It has now been suggested that the BPP keeps three sets of accounts, one of BPP Baugs where the whole administration and office staff salary is shown as Expenses, another for Wadia Baugs and a third for Income Tax and Charity Commissioner purposes.
To justify the fudged figures cited , Yazdi Desai tries to clarify that Income from Fixed Deposits of Wadia Baugs of Rs. 134 crores cannot be utilized for general activities of BPP. No one knows from where Mr. Desai has come up with this illogical conclusion since all the funds lying in the Fixed Deposits of the Wadia Baugs are all under the control of the BPP Trustees. Our great ex-Chairman Late Jamshedji Guzder was the first person to lay down the principle to date that all the funds generated by the Wadia Baugs belong to the BPP and the BPP Trustees are free to utilize these funds as they may deem appropriate.
Coming back to the Accounts of BPP, it is clear that for F.Y. 2015-16, there was surplus Income of Rs. 5.88 crores and not a deficit as falsely claimed by Yazdi Desai to justify the exorbitant increase in service charges. Further for 2014-15 there was a surplus Income of Rs. 7.39 crores and for 2013-14 surplus Income was in excess of Rs.11 crores.
The Returns filed shows a total carried forward Income as on 31-03-2016 at Rs. 28.62 crores for last 5 years which are likely to be taxed if the same is not used for community benefit within the next two years, as per the advice given by the Auditors.
It is not understood how Rs. 750/- pm can be levied on all occupants irrespective whether he is using a single room tenement or five rooms flats or whether any services are provided to that colony or building.
Nowroz Baug occupants service charges were increased last year by only Rs. 175/- pm and for Jer Baug the increase was restricted to only Rs. 200/- pm yet the BPP Baugs which are much poorer are faced with common increase of Rs. 750/- pm for all Baugs. Further all Licensees especially of Godrej Baug and Bharucha Baug (Multistorey Bldg.) are being charged huge license fees compared to the frozen rents of tenants and hence different consideration has to be given to licensees.
The threat of refusal to accept rent without payment of the increase in service charges is frightening many occupants to comply irrespective of the effect on the occupants monthly budget. Yazdi Desai as a sop has given an option to occupants to apply for exemption based on his income. If the Trust is flush with funds where then is the need to increase the service charges. No self respecting Parsi would like to be investigated by the Liaison Committee who will ask for all sorts of details of their families and finances which they would not like to submit. Why force them into this embarrassing situation when the Trust has Rs. 28.62 crores unused excess income in its kitty which may get taxed if it is not used to give relief to the beneficiaries.
The issue here is not whether the occupant can or cannot afford to bear this burden of additional Rs.750/- pm. The issue is whether the Trust needs this additional funds to sustain itself and can absorb this additional alleged deficit of Rs. 3.64 crores from the carried forward Income of Rs. 28.62 crores.