Parsi pri­est’s let­ter bomb: ‘Was mis­led about tun­nels by Metro of­fi­cials’

» Vada Das­turji Khur­shed Das­toor of Ud­vada, who un­til last year was in favour of Metro III, says high priests were mis­in­formed about align­ment and de­mands for the pro­posed tun­nels to be re­aligned

Mid Day - - FRONT PAGE - GAU­RAV SARKAR gau­rav.sarkar@mid-day.com

THE high pri­est of Ud­vada, Vada Das­turji Khur­shed Das­toor, has seem­ingly had a change of heart on the con­tro­ver­sial Metro III align­ment. Months af­ter claim­ing the Metro tun­nelling work won’t harm the Parsi com­mu­nity’s sa­cred Atash Behrams, he is now of the opin­ion that the project should be re­aligned to pro­tect the struc­tures.

THEN: NOV 2017 ‘It is not a paani ka pipe­line that you can just turn around. I have stud­ied ev­ery­thing and that is why I am sat­is­fied with the ex­pla­na­tion’

NOW: JUNE 2018 ‘As I had stated pre­vi­ously, had I known about the align­ment of the tun­nels be­low these two pi­ous build­ings ear­lier, I would have surely ob­jected and also sug­gested re­align­ment’

IN a June 8 let­ter to the group of Par­sis who have pe­ti­tioned against the Metro, he has also stated Metro au­thor­i­ties fed him ‘mis­in­for­ma­tion’ when he met them last year.

Khur­shed Das­toor, who was also ap­pointed last year as a mem­ber on the Na­tional Mi­nori­ties Com­mis­sion, had vis­ited MMRCL of­fi­cials in Oc­to­ber 2017. Af­ter the meet­ing, he’d an­nounced he was fully sat­is­fied with their ex­pla­na­tion that the tun­nel align­ment does not come in the way of the sanc­tum sanc­to­rum or the well, thus draw­ing flak from those strongly seek­ing re­align­ment.

Fed ‘mis­in­for­ma­tion’

Now, at a time when the en­tire com­mu­nity has come to­gether de­mand­ing the re­align­ment, Das­toor, too, holds a dif­fer­ent opin­ion on the is­sue. He wrote in the June 8 let­ter: “As I have stated pre­vi­ously, had I known about the align­ment of the tun­nels be­low these two pi­ous build­ings ear­lier, I would have surely ob­jected to the same and also sug­gest re­align­ment.” He fur­ther al­leges the Metro au­thor­i­ties had fed him ‘mis­in­for­ma­tion’ last year.

“It is only when we, the high priests, were con­sulted last year, that too with mis­in­for­ma­tion about the re­align­ment, about the tun­nel not pass­ing through the sanc­tum sanc­to­rum of Wa­di­aji Atash Behram, did I step in to know the truth from the Metro au­thor­i­ties and pre­sented the facts to the com­mu­nity,” he wrote in the let­ter.

Speak­ing to mid-day from New Delhi, Das­toor said: “Last year, MMRCL clearly said the tun­nel(s) can­not be shifted. We’d re­quested them to re­align, but they said there was no al­ter­na­tive, and as­sured us they would take ut­most care and pre­cau­tion. That is why at the time I said it was okay to go ahead with the tun­nel­ing be­cause there wasn’t any other op­tion.”

What changed?

So what made him change his mind? It was Hafeez Con­trac­tor’s re­align­ment plan, later sub­mit­ted to the au­thor­i­ties. When asked whether MMRCL had mis­led the com­mu­nity, Das­toor said: “Let me be fair. MMRCL had lim­i­ta­tions of de­sign, whereas Hafeez Con­trac­tor is a mas­ter of ar­chi­tec­ture; what he de­signs and what other peo­ple de­sign is quite dif­fer­ent. Hafeez found out the way to re­align it.”

Re­act­ing to those point­ing fin­gers at him for his dras­tic change of stance, Das­toor said: “At the time, I was told there was no al­ter­na­tive and even to­day if I am told the same thing, I will stick to my stance that the project can go ahead. But if an al­ter­na­tive is avail­able, then it should be worked upon.” As for the let­ter, it cul­mi­nates with Das­toor ask­ing for the re­align­ment: “In con­clu­sion, I re­it­er­ate that if there is any pos­si­bil­ity to re­align the tun­nels to pre­serve the sanc­tity of these ed­i­fices, then the same should be un­der­taken.”

‘If there is an al­ter­na­tive avail­able, then it should be worked upon’ Vada Das­turji Khur­shed Das­toor

mid-day’s Nov 7, 2017, re­port

Vada Das­turji Khur­shed Das­toor

mid-day’s Novem­ber 7, 2017 re­port on Das­toor’s pre­vi­ous stance

mid-day’s June 9 re­port about the mas­sive com­mu­nity meet­ing

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