Home News TRUSTEES SQUABBLE OVER WASTE COMPOSTING AT DOONGERWADI
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TRUSTEES SQUABBLE OVER WASTE COMPOSTING AT DOONGERWADI

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After the failure of the Parsi community in re-aligning the Metro tunnel passing below Wadiaji Atashbehram as well as not getting commercial details of the Medanta Agreement executed by Parsi General Hospital, there has at last been a wave of community opposition to the hare-brained idea of defiling Doongerwadi by collecting garbage i.e.wet waste from all over town and dumping it at Ambavadi area of Doongerwadi for composting and creating manure through four automatic rumbler  machines.

It is hoped that the Trustees will note the community angst and disgust on the proposed desecration of our holy lands and that the Trustees will reconsider the project and abandon it forthwith. The original BMC proposal for each large colony of more than 20,000 sq.m. to set up an in-house pit or a semi-automatic or automatic machine to compost the wet waste in-situ  in each colony to ferment the garbage on site will be followed as there are more than enough open spaces in all our large colonies.

tower-of-silenceWith all attention now diverted to Doongerwadi, both the Metro authorities as well as Homa Petit of Parsi General Hospital will be a relieved lot and they probably hope that the controversy continues so that the public pressure on them gets dissipated.

On inquiry with the BMC officials, we are informed that they have formulated seven types of composting processes but the most important aspect is the initial segregation of dry and wet waste which necessarily has to be done at site itself. Only thereafter the wet waste can be treated in pits on site by culture insemination or by vermi-culture or through semi and automatic machines in each colony. A fully automatic machine with scrapers and shredders would be ideal and a 100 Kg capacity machine would cost about Rs. 5.55 lakhs including delivery and GST whilst a 50 Kg machine would be  around Rs. 3 lakhs. Semi-automatic machine would cost around Rs. 1 lakh.

On inquiry about transporting the garbage from distant suburbs to Malabar Hill, the officers were very categorical that wet waste cannot be allowed to travel such long distances unless the vehicles were leak proof. They advised that instead of collecting all garbage at one point of delivery, it would be preferable to have at least four such centers distributed all over. They suggested that it would be ideal for each housing society to have its own composting mechanism and depending on the number of flats and buildings in each colony they would prescribe the size of pit required which would usually be of size 3m x 1m x 1m depth or two automatic machines of 50 Kg capacity would be enough and they would come and teach and instruct our staff how to do the composting. They suggested that A,B,C, and D wards could have a common plant then Wards E,F and G have a common centre and so on. But ideal was to have each compost at each colony.

The vehemence of community ire over the Trustees proposal to mis-use Doongerwadi for commercial use has led to a spate of angry exchange of emails inter-se the Trustees, at least EXPOSING before the community that the ORTHODOX CHAIRMAN OF WAPIZ, YAZDI DESAI has sold his soul to the REFORMIST KERSI RANDERIA in his love to cling on to the post of BPP CHAIRMAN. 

We give below the sequence of mails that started after Hindustan Times of 23rd January 2018 published the interview of Randeria boasting about setting up garbage treatment plants at Ambavadi section of Doongerwadi. In response thereto late Adi Doctor’s group, hard core supporters of WAPIZ, sent the below mail to the BPP Trustees.

On 30 January 2018 at 01:55 Hanoz Mistry wrote:

“”Chairman and trustees of the BPP,

We were shocked and greatly distressed to read messages on social media about your proposal to create a Garbage Disposal facility at Ambavadi, Doongerwadi, from the wet waste collected from BPP colonies. We were hoping that BPP would issue some clarification in Parsi Times today but that has not yet happened. So much for your much touted election promise of transparency!

The BMC may have mandated housing societies located on larger plots of land to handle their own garbage, which prompted the BPP to lend a helping hand and we appreciate that. However, wet garbage would inter alia include rotting vegetables, leftover and spoilt  food besides used sanitary pads, pared nails etc. To dump all that garbage at Doongerwadi for converting it into manure, is abhorrent to the community at large and unacceptable!

Composting or recycling creates bacteria and maggots which turn the wasted garbage into compost or manure! It will also attract rodents in large numbers not to mention stray cats and dogs. Would one like to collect this stuff in one’s own backyard? If not, then why dump the same on Doongerwadi, which is a holy place for the community members (barring a few rabid deformists) where our dear departed are taken on their last journey? The whole purpose behind Dokhmenashini is containing Druj (pollution), not adding to it! And Ambavadi happens to be very much part of the Doongerwadi estate. The oft repeated argument that non-Parsees are already living in Ambavadi, cannot be used as an excuse to justify this sacrilege.

As if community garbage dumping was not enough, it is even proposed that the facility can be extended to other communities for disposing off their garbage! Now that’s crass commercialization of a holy place. It’s sad that trustees, who should be custodians, have absolutely no concept of the sanctity of the place they are trustees of!

The deformist have used every excuse to attack Doongerwadi including the bogey of smell from the Dakhmas. Would this activity not give them one more excuse to target the system saying that if there is scope for garbage treatment on holy land what is wrong with giving the place for the four days obsequies of those who are cremated??

You may recall that some years ago, when the crematorium lobby was desperately trying to grab a toehold on Doongerwadi with open support from some of the trustees, BPP had sought legal opinion on whether Doongerwadi could be used for that purpose and the answer had clearly been in the negative. The settlors of Doongerwadi estate desired this place to be used only for Dokhmenashini and associated ceremonies and for nothing else. So how can an activity like garbage disposal, which has nothing to do with Dokhmenashini, be set up at Ambavadi? Would that not be ultra vires the wishes of the settlors?

If you are so keen on doing social service, why don’t you do it on another plot of land belonging to the BPP? That way, the community’s sentiments will not be affected and more importantly, the sanctity of Doongerwadi will not be compromised.

Ms. Rita F. Doctor   Hanoz M. Mistry     Ervad Bahadur Sanjana     Ervad Behram Dhabhar     Khushnood Viccaji     Dinnyar N. Deboo      Ms. Yasmine Dastoor     Ms. Binaifer Bhathena     Ms. Aban Sethna      Ms. Havovi H. Mistry””

 

In reply Trustee Noshir Dadrawalla tried to explain and justify the Trustees decision as under:

“”From: z-newz On Behalf Of Noshir – CAP
Sent: Tuesday, January 30, 2018 7:01 PM
To: Tehemton B Adenwalla
Cc: ZNewZ; TZML; Yezdi Desai; Kersi – Ahura; Armaity R. Tirandaz; The Parsee Voice; Jame – Gmail; Hushang Vakil; Hanoz Mistry (khshnoomist); Rita F. Doctor; Bahadur Sanjana; Behram Dhabhar; Khushnood Viccaji; Khojeste – Zoroastrian Studies
Subject: Re: Wet/DRY garbage

Three points require immediate clarification:

  1. Whatever my colleague trustee Mr. Kersi Randeria is contemplating is still just a “proposal”. As a Board, the trustees are still discussing various options. Nothing is finalised or decided as yet.
  2. The site being contemplated is ‘Ambawadi’ and not ‘Doongerwadi!
  3. It has been stated: “The settlors of Doongerwadi estate desired this place to be used only for Dokhmenashini and associated ceremonies and for nothing else. So how can an activity like garbage disposal, which has nothing to do with Dokhmenashini, be set up at Ambavadi? Would that not be ultra vires the wishes of the settlors?”

Please note that the “Doongerwadi estate” includes what is now known as Khareghat Colony, Godrej Baug and Spenta Apartments. If the settlors had desired this place to be used only for Dokhmenashini and associated ceremonies and for nothing else, how come no one protested the building of these colonies with so many toilets, bathrooms and menstruating women residing there. 

Before jumping to conclusions, please research the Urban Land Ceiling Law and how, when and why Godrej Baug came up on sacred doongerwadi land or what is marked in Municipal and Collector’s records as ‘cemetery land’.

Think more, Talk Less!

Act more, Argue Lesser!

Noshir H. Dadrawala””

Now the fun starts. Realising that Noshir was not honest nor truthful about the Boards decision in giving the above statement, Trustee Viraf Mehta pointed out the inconsistencies in Noshir’s clarification as under:

From: Viraf Mehta

“”Date: 01/02/2018 10:49 (GMT+05:30)

To: Noshir – CAP , Tehemton B Adenwalla 

Cc: ZNewZ, TZML, Yezdi Desai, Kersi – Ahura, “Armaity R. Tirandaz”, The Parsee Voice, Jame – Gmail, Hushang Vakil, “Hanoz Mistry (khshnoomist)”, “Rita F. Doctor”, Bahadur Sanjana, Behram Dhabhar, Khushnood Viccaji, Khojeste – Zoroastrian Studies, “Viraf D. Mehta”

Subject: RE: Wet/DRY garbage

Dear Noshir, 

I am replying to your mail of 30-1-2018 about the 3 points that has inspired your clarification.

1) I need to correct you here. You are incorrect when you say that the BPP Board is “contemplating” Ambawadi as the site of the waste management unit and that nothing is finalised or decided as yet and that the Trustees are still discussing various options. You are also incorrect when you say that this is just a “proposal”. 

The Ambawadi site has already been finalised by us and only after that did the waste management team once again go colony to colony in January ‘18 informing the residents of our proposal. We even procured 66 volunteers for the same. Even if you read the interview given by Kersi Randeria to Hindustan Times as published by them in their article of 23rd Jan 2018 , it talks of the waste management unit being set up in Ambawadi to which Kersi himself is quoted that by March end, one of four compost tumblers will be operational.

In fact last week at our Board meeting we sanctioned Rs. 4.5 lakh initial payment (total cost approximately 45 lakhs) to be paid to the contractor that Kersi brought, as an expert in composting wet waste matter. 

In November 2017, when we made our first rounds of the colonies under directions and threats from the BMC, the idea was for each colony to have their own wet waste compost pits within open space of each colony itself.

When we were at Godrej Baug, Kersi told me that after speaking to the waste contractor, he was convinced that having one big waste composting/management unit would be better and convinced all of us that we do it at Ambawadi. While at Godrej Baug itself, my instant reaction and concern was that having a waste disposal/management unit on Doongerwadi land would not be correct as it would hurt religious sentiments and it would upset a large section of our community. I immediately shared this thought with Kersi and told him that we would unnecessarily be inviting trouble for ourselves. Kersi dismissed my concerns and said not to worry and that he would handle it when the time came. 

2) Please note that Ambawadi is a part and parcel of Doongerwadi as the DP plan showing Doongerwadi as cemetery land covers the so called Ambawadi land also. 

3) I also need to correct you that Khareghat Colony and Spenta Apartments are not a part of Doongerwadi estate at all. Khareghat colony with Spenta Apts as part of it is separately registered and Doongerwadi complex has a separate registration number of Malabar Hill Division, which will be evident from DP Plan of Malabar Hill.

Now coming to Godrej Baug. The whole Doongerwadi is a cemetery land under the development plan of Malabar Hill. The area of Godrej Baug however is shown as residential area in the DP of Malabar Hill and not part of the Doongerwadi reservation for cemetery land and that is why under the advice and the benevolence of Naoroji Godrej who got exemption and permission to construct from then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi under the Urban Land Ceiling Act which was prevailing at that time, Godrej Baug was built in his honour and gratitude. 

I fail to understand your reference to Godrej Baug or Khareghat Colony or Spenta with their toilets, bathrooms and menstruating ladies being ultra vires the wishes of the Settlors to be used only for Dokhmenashini and associated ceremonies and for nothing else. Please note that the Doongerwadi complex itself not only has the Mobed building constructed on Doongerwadi land, and also has 2 pavilions for non-Parsi visitors, 5 Bunglis with attached toilets in each of them and staff quarters with attached toilets for Khandias and employees and various other structures constructed on Doongerwadi lands. Even at Ambawadi we have staff quarters for the Doongerwadi staff and our class IV employees. All of these are adjuncts and complementary aids for effective implementation of Dokhmanashini in the Doongerwadi complex and cannot be a reason to turn Doongerwadi into a dumping ground for garbage disposal of wet waste from all and sundry.

Regards,

Viraf””

Of course Noshir responded but admitted that if he is wrong he will have the courage to stand corrected as under:

 

FW: Wet/DRY garbage 

“”From: noshir 
Sent: Thursday, February 01, 2018 11:15 AM
To: Viraf Mehta, CLSA; Tehemton B Adenwalla
Cc: ZNewZ; TZML; Yezdi Desai; Kersi – Ahura; Armaity R. Tirandaz; The Parsee Voice; Jame – Gmail; Hushang Vakil; Hanoz Mistry (khshnoomist); Rita F. Doctor; Bahadur Sanjana; Behram Dhabhar; Khushnood Viccaji; Khojeste – Zoroastrian Studies; Viraf D. Mehta
Subject: RE: Wet/DRY garbage

Dear Viraf,

This is neither your language nor style. But, I will not make that an issue.

You are garunteed a few cheers on this group and some extra orthodox votes in 2022. But, some of us have a vision for the community beyond the next elections.

Let’s discuss this at our Board meeting today. If I have been wrong I have the courage to stand corrected. I am hoping you will do likewise.

Regards.

Noshir””

Of course the main protagonist Kersi Randeria could not be left out of this exchange and sent his own mail as under:

“”From: kersi 
Sent: Thursday, February 01, 2018 12:27 PM
To: Viraf Mehta, CLSA; Noshir – CAP; Tehemton B Adenwalla
Cc: kersi; ZNewZ; TZML; Yezdi Desai; Armaity R. Tirandaz; The Parsee Voice; Jame – Gmail; Hushang Vakil; Hanoz Mistry (khshnoomist); Rita F. Doctor; Bahadur Sanjana; Behram Dhabhar; Khushnood Viccaji; Khojeste – Zoroastrian Studies; Viraf D. Mehta
Subject: RE: Wet/DRY garbage

Dear Viraf

Personally I prefer to work rather than get into a futile exchange of emails

However need to record a few glaring untruths in your email

You have said and I quote –

” I immediately shared this thought with Kersi and told him that we would unnecessarily be inviting trouble for ourselves. Kersi dismissed my concerns and said not to worry and that he would handle it when the time came.”

This is not true and you know it. Neither did you share any “thought” with me nor did I say that I “would handle it when the time came”

Your “lack of involvement” in this project is part of the record.

In fact I had taken care to even invite to the site and consult Mr Khojeste Mistree. You were notably absent from all the work that was done and barring the public visits to the baugs where you “wanted to and insisted upon”  being present, you have done very little “work” on this project.  This is the truth.

As regards your point no 2 even today the ownership building in Godrej Baug is shown in the DP plan as part of the Doongerwadi lands

Earlier DP plans will show that the entire Godrej Baug property was part of Doongerwadi lands.

However this tu tu mai mai is not relevant to the point under discussion and we need to move away from this crowd pleasing kind of statements and work together in the best interests of the community.

Finally your statement – 

“……..turn Doongerwadi into a dumping ground for garbage disposal of wet waste from all and sundry.”

 …….is rather unfortunate and appears to be playing to the gallery rather than any serious view of your own.

We neither intend to, nor ever will, turn any of our properties into “dumping grounds” and certainly not Doongerwadi nor even Ambawadi.

Let us work to convince members of our community whose concern is genuine that we will not be using any of our properties as “dumping grounds for our waste”

Let us spread the spirit of not polluting our earth, water and air as our religion enjoins us to do.

Let us be the leaders of the community who can proudly say that we will be at the forefront of performing our civic duty and be a shining example to the rest of the city of moving towards a Zero Waste generating community who will not add to the woes of this already over burdened city.

We have visited all ten baugs and over 450 members of the community attended our meetings. If we are addressing the waste of around 2500 houses than this figure indicates that almost 18 to 20% of the houses were represented. Not one person had anything adverse to say. You were present on the first Sunday when we visited 6 out of the 10 baugs. You know how positive the response was. 63 members of our community  (young and old) have volunteered to work for this project.

We need to take this forward – for our community, for our city and for our planet and most importantly for our children and their children.

There are some who will oppose us for political reasons – more so as there is scheduled to be an election in the next few months. Let us ignore the politicians.

Let us convince those whose concerns are genuine and take them along.

I for one am willing to sit with (individually or in small/large groups) all whose concern is genuine but have no intention to enter into email wars which generally degenerate into vicious personal war of words.

Best

Kersi””

Obviously Viraf had to clear the charges levied by Kersi and his mail is given below:

“”From: Viraf Mehta 
Sent: Thursday, February 01, 2018 5:43 PM
To: ‘kersi'; Noshir – CAP; Tehemton B Adenwalla
Cc: ZNewZ; TZML; Yezdi Desai; Armaity R. Tirandaz; The Parsee Voice; Jame – Gmail; Hushang Vakil; Hanoz Mistry (khshnoomist); Rita F. Doctor; Bahadur Sanjana; Behram Dhabhar; Khushnood Viccaji; Khojeste – Zoroastrian Studies; Viraf D. Mehta
Subject: RE: Wet/DRY garbage

Dear Kersi,

I am quite shocked by your email. I find your lapse in memory rather convenient. Perhaps you don’t want to admit the conversation we had for fear of losing face.

Let me refresh your memory. We were standing on the road right outside the eco-park at Godrej Baug when you told me about your idea, and that is where I immediately raised my concerns. Perhaps you don’t remember because you so nonchalantly dismissed what I said.

It is a fact that you do whatever you please, despite the opinion of others. More so you chose to leave the Board (especially Mrs. Tirandaz and myself) in the dark on numerous occasions and despite me constantly requesting administration to keep me informed, I am not. Most likely on your instructions. Nonetheless, this is not the platform to discuss your questionable and dubious ways of working, for there is a lot I can say on that.

Coming to Godrej Baug, once again you are twisting facts. While you are correct that Godrej Baug is on Doongerwadi Lands, the area of Godrej Baug is shown as residential area in the DP of Malabar Hill and not part of the Doongerwadi reservation for cemetery land.

I only replied to Noshir to correct the facts. Not get into a “tu tu main main” as much as you like to indulge in it.

Reading your email one would realize that you love to sermonize others, but very rarely practice what you preach.

According to your logic, if someone has a different opinion, you call him a politician.
If someone expresses an orthodox view, you say he is playing to the galleries.
If someone has an alternate suggestion, you are quick to dismiss it.

As I said earlier, its either your way or the highway.

Let me set the record straight that I am totally in favour of waste management. I agree with you that we should not pollute mother earth and we should be a zero waste generating community.

 But does it have to be at the holiest plot of land that us Parsis have?
Does it have to be at the expense of hurting religious sentiment of our community members ?

We are the second largest landlords in Mumbai, is there no other alternate space?

Why do we have to stick with your idea of having one big unit for all our colonies?
Why not go with our original idea of having small composting bins in each colony?

We would still end up being a zero waste generating community and would still be giving back to nature.

I was with you when we visited the 6 colonies. Each time anyone asked where this unit is coming up, you very cleverly said Ambawadi and left it at that, without clarifying that Ambawadi is an integral part of Doongerwadi. You claim 18-20% of the houses were represented at these meeting, but how many of them actually know where Ambawadi is ? I am sure the response would be very different if they knew that it was part of the Doongerwadi.

You claim to have taken Khojeste Mistree to see the area in question for his approval. But with all due respect to Mr. Mistree, his yes or no would not be the final word on this. Why not consult the High Priests or Senior Priests for their unbiased view instead of asking friends of colleagues Trustees who support you.

You are right when you say that we need to take this forward – for our community, for our city and for our planet and most importantly for our children and their children. I will fully support this endeavor. But not at the cost of religion. There are other alternatives, equally effective, which can be availed of, if we chose to.

As Trustees of the BPP, taking care of our Doongerwadi must be paramount.

Regards,

Viraf””

Obviously with all these exchanges Tuesday’s board meeting is bound to have been tumultuous and will hopefully lead to an abandonment of the unholy proposal of converting Doongerwadi into the Deonar Dumping Ground. If the Trustees do not bow to the popular will of the community at large then the only hope left is to move the High Court for relief of implementation of OBJECTS OF THE TRUST DEED of Doongerwadi. It is hoped that at least this time the Trustees will not mis-use community charity funds to oppose the legal suit but will use their own personal funds to oppose the community will. In fact the application before the High Court itself should contain a Clause/Prayer of each Trustee to bear his own litigation cost regarding the outcome of the most precious community asset.