Two days after the branch of a tree fell on a 38-year-old businessman, killing him, corporators and tree authority members slammed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for neglecting the pruning of trees in the city.
Nikhil Kamdar was crushed to death when a branch of a tamarind tree fell on him at Andheri (West) on Monday. Although the tree was located in a private compound, it collapsed on Kamdar while he stood on a public road right outside the BMC's K-West ward office.
Tree authority member and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) group leader in the BMC, Niyaz Vanu, said: "The BMC has not made changes in the way it trims trees. Despite so many incidents, the civic body has not still not taken the issue seriously."
Criticising the civic body for its lackadaisical approach towards overhauling the outdated tree-pruning mechanism, Vanu said, "People have always felt that the BMC has been ineffective and inefficient and the BMC's attitude towards this issue proves the perception right."
Markets and gardens committee chairman and tree authority member, Vilas Chavari, lashed out at the BMC for its slow pace of functioning. "When these incidents were first reported, even the BMC chief had promised us in the tree authority meeting that he would reform the way the civic body trims trees," Chavari said. "Nothing has happened yet, even as people continue to die."
Tree authority member Niranjan Shetty said there have been no visible changes in the BMC's tree trimming practices. "Two years ago, the BMC had appointed junior tree officers on probation only to ensure that tree trimming is done effectively. Despite this, it is far from satisfactory," Shetty said.
Deputy municipal commissioner (gardens) Chandrashekhar Rokade had told the HT on Tuesday that the BMC is yet to order the 12 vehicle-mounted ladders it needs for pruning trees. He had also agreed that the BMC should be taking the trimming trees in private societies more seriously.
All the members told Hindustan Times that they will raise the issue in the next tree authority meeting, headed by municipal commissioner, Swadhin Kshatriya. "We will lodge our protest against the BMC's inefficiency, in the next meeting," Vanu said.
Rokade said Kamdar's kin would be given compensation soon. "We will speed up the procedure so that the family gets compensation of Rs. 1 lakh according to the new compensation policy."