Back in 2009, when child actors Rubina and Azhar were basking in the worldwide success of Danny Boyle’s Oscar winning feature Slumdog Millionaire, the state housing agency MHADA gifted them each a one-bedroom-hall-kitchen apartment in the Malwani area of Malad.
MHADA’s Mumbai board chairman Amarjit Singh Manhas, and the Mumbai unit of the Congress even paid the money for the generous gifts. The young stars and their respective parents, however, had refused the allotments, saying they preferred apartments in or near Bandra, where their hutments were located.
Now, five years later, parents of both the children have returned to MHADA, saying that they want the homes after all. Recently, Rubina Ali’s father, Rafique, started doing the rounds of MHADA’s office in Kalanagar, Bandra (East), with the allotment letter dated May 2009, asking for a house in Malwani.
“I have been following up with MHADA for the last one month, but have been sent from one department to the other. I was supposed to meet Mr Koli, who is a senior officer, but was told he is not well,” Rafique said. Rubina’s father added that the allotment letter mentions that possession must be taken within 15 days, failing which allotment will be cancelled.
He added, “When I showed the papers to the officers at MHADA, they told me that this is not an issue. Besides, the payments for both the houses have been made.” Rafique added that he had all the papers in place to prove that the Malad homes had been allotted to them, and Rs. 4.90 lakh paid for each by the Congress committee.
Rubina Ali, who is now 16, lives with her parents in Bandra, while Azhar, who is 15, lives in Santacruz. Both flats were allotted to them by the Jai Ho trust. Both are studying now, but dream of being actors in future.
Rubina and Azhar’s parents both took time over accepting the MHADA homes offered to them, fearing it would make them ineligible for the trust flats. According to MHADA rules, an applicant cannot apply for a flat if he/she owns another house in the city.
But, there’s no such rule the other way round. So, the families were asked to accept the flats before accepting the ones offered by the Jai Ho trust. The MHADA eventually took a stand and set a deadline. Neither family accepted the flats, eventually.
Rafique, Rubina’s father
I, as well as Azharuddin’s parents, felt at that time that the houses were too far away. Our children’s schools were in Bandra and we preferred an accommodation in or around that area. In fact, we requested Congress leader Kripashankar Singh, who had helped us with the homes in Malwani, to allot them in Sion. He did promise, but didn’t really do anything for us.
Shamim, Azhar’s mother
Our family is growing and we need one more home. The house we are living in at present is in Santacruz. It is still in the name of Danny Boyle’s trust. If we have been given an award for our children, we are entitled to that house.
Aparna Somani, marketing officer at MHADA
He (Rafique) came to meet us. We have called for the documents. Only after we check the papers can something be said. I have told him that we will get the papers, which are with another department.
180 sq ft
Size of each Malad flat offered to the families
Rs. 7.5 lakh
Market price of each flat in 2009
Rs. 4.9 lakh
Price paid by Congress’ city unit to MHADA for each flat