The Congress is trying to cash in on the Oscar mania after the success of Slumdog Millionaire at the Oscars.
The Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (Mhada), the nodal agency for housing in the state, is now planning to give child actors Azahruddin Ismail and Rubina Ali, who now live in slums, flats in the city.
“These children have made the country proud. They are special and have won laurels for the country and the Congress wants to felicitate them,” said Amarjit Singh Manhas, chairman of the Mumbai Board.
“The Congress had a meeting in the morning and the party suggested that I write a letter to the chief minister. The chief minister can give these two actors flats under his discretionary quota free of cost,” said Manhas.
Congress MLA Kripa-shankar Singh will meet Chief Minister Ashok Chavan to take a final decision regarding the location and size of the flats.
The families of the actors are overwhelmed. Rubina lives in Garib Nagar, a slum close to the Bandra station. The sprawling slum has open gutters and her house is on the outskirts of this slum. Right behind the house, there is a wasteland where the entire slum’s garbage is dumped. However, Azhar just has four bed sheets and a tarpaulin sheet to call his home.
“We did not even dream that this film will be such a hit and that she will go to America. We hope we get a flat in Mumbai. For the last three generations, we have been living in this slum and we might finally get out of here. We hope the government helps us get out of here,” said Rafiq Qureshi, Rubina’s father.
“This has been our long standing demand for a long time. I really hope we get it,” said Mohammed Ismail, who is suffering from TB.