‘Slumdog…’ star Azhar ill, shanty’s fate uncertain

March 3rd, 2009 - 4:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Slumdog MillionaireMumbai, March 3 (IANS) Child star Azharuddin Ismail Shaikh has taken ill days ahead of his school exams. But he can still heave a sigh of relief - there is no immediate plan to demolish the illegal shanty in Mumbai where the “Slumdog Millionaire” actor lives with his family, a senior civic official said here Tuesday.

U.D. Mistry, assistant municipal commissioner, H-East municipal ward, denied knowledge of “any plan” to demolish the shanty in the Garib Nagar slum outside Bandra East station where Azharuddin lives.

A report by the dailymail.co.uk. had quoted Mistry as saying: “The plot has been earmarked as a playground and we will demolish all illegal settlements. We will fix the schedule soon, but it will be in a week.”

However, speaking to IANS, Mistry said: “I don’t know how my name has cropped up in this issue. Also, demolitions are an ongoing process. It goes on regularly with police protection wherever illegal constructions are brought to our notice.”

But uncertainty still prevails. Azhar’s shanty has been in the limelight following the eight Oscar awards for “Slumdog Millionaire”. Another child star in the film, Rubina Ali, also hails from the slums.

An official belonging to the demolition section in the same ward said that bagging an international honour did not absolve any individual from following rules and regulations.

“Though we have no specific agenda for demolishing the Garib Nagar slums, removing illegal structures from the city is part of the civic authority’s ongoing process, unless the structures get protection from the government,” the official explained.

Azhar’s family is a worried lot, especially his mother Shamim Shaikh.

The 10-year old has missed school for the past four days as he’s been suffering from fever, vomiting and bodyache - all symptoms of a heat stroke on account of the unusual hot spell in Mumbai, his mother Shamim told IANS.

“We have also heard that the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) is planning to demolish several hutments in this area. But we have not been served any demolition notice by the ward office so far,” she said.

If their shelter - comprising some waste tarpaulin sheets - faces the MCGM’s bulldozer, Shamim wonders how Azhar will prepare for his Class 1 final examinations starting this month-end.

“We have been told that the government has plans to allot a flat to Azhar and Rubina Ali, but there has been no further communication in this regard,” she added.

Shamim is now planning to meet the principal of Chimbai Municipal School, requesting for a couple of days extra leave of absence for Azhar on account of his poor health.

-Indo-Asian News Service

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