Friday, February 18, 2011

Balwa Family

The Family Of 2G Scam Accused Has Gifted An Air-Conditioned School To Its Village
In this Palanpur village, people pray for Balwa

Pirojpura (Palanpur): Realtor Shahid Balwa may be neck-deep in trouble but in this village, 150 km from Ahmedabad, the Balwas are seen as philanthropists. The family has gifted their native village a beautiful, semi-airconditioned school with all the facilities one sees in a metropolis, a hospital, a school for girls and a huge educational complex for tribals. They have provided piped water to the neighboring villages as well.
The 4,000 villagers, 70 per cent of whom are Momins, find it difficult to believe that Shahid, the 32-year-old managing director of DB (Dynamix Balwas) Realty, listed by Forbes as India's 66th richest man with a net worth of US $1.06 billion, could be involved in anything illegal. Last week, Balwa became the fourth person -- and the first who is not a government official -- to be arrested in the 2G spectrum case.
“Osmanbhai (58), Shahid’s father, and Salim (37), his elder brother, have been generous to our small village with their exemplary work in building the N M Balwa High School in a sprawling campus,’’ said Rahamat Ulla Dhag.
“The school does not charge anything except tuition fees in accordance with state government guidelines,” said Gamabhai Rathod, an aide of Osmanbhai. “Besides, 45% of the 700 students, of which half are girls have been exempted from paying tuition fees by the Balwa Charitable Trust,’’ he said.
“Shahid visits Pirojpura with his family every year in May. The Balwas are known as men with Dil and Daulat (large-hearted and wealthy),” said Rathod. “We pray to god that the entire family overcomes the problems. God will help them as they carry the blessings of the poor of the region,” said Ibrahim Rajodiya, Bhagwan Modi, Rahamat-Ulla, Bhagwan Modi, Achra Valmiki, Abdul Kadiwal and several others in the village.
Pirojpura village, 18 km from the temple town of Palanpur, is known as the Paris of Banaskantha as it is a model village of love and cooperation between different communities. Nearly 1,500 of its residents have businesses in Mumbai, Surat, Ahmedabad and abroad.
The village came under the domain of the Nawab of Palanpur state. Agriculture was the main livelihood and the Balwas too were farmers. “Nasruddin Balwa, Shahid’s great grandfather, was the first to leave the village for Mumbai during the end of 19th century and began the hotel business there,’’ said Rathod. He had three sons; Ibrahim, Janmahamad and Noor Mohmad. Hotel Le Meridien in Ahmedabad belongs to the Balwa family.

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