The municipal corporation's flip-flops over providing compensation to all victims of tree branch collapse continued on Thursday.
A day after Hindustan Times reported how the corporation planned to backtrack from its promise of providing compensation to all victims, additional municipal commissioner Aseem Gupta, in what seemed as a face-saving exercise, clarified that "every victim of a tree collapse that happened on a civic road would be compensated".
On Wednesday, Hindustan Times had reported that the corporation was drafting its compensation policy to provide relief to only those victims who were injured or killed by trees on civic roads.
This meant that Antara Telang (19), Tamanna Bhojani (30), who were severely injured, and the family of Rahim Shaikh (50), who was crushed to death under a tree in the GPO premises, would not be eligible for compensation.
Only the family of Mohammed Aslam Sheikh (45), who was killed when a branch crushed him on his bike, would be entitled to damages.
This contradicted Municipal Commissioner Swadheen Kshatriya's earlier statement, in response to HT's reports on the accidents and on the lack of an effective civic tree-pruning policy. "We'll be taking a very compassionate view of these two cases, since both are young girls who have suffered grave injuries," Kshatriya had told HT on August 26.
Clarifying the corporation's stand on the compensation policy on Thursday, Gupta said: "The civic body is equivocal in its stand to provide compensation to every victim who is injured in a tree collapse, while on a civic road. The location of the tree won't matter if the victim was on a public road."
But on Wednesday, Gupta's junior, Deputy Municipal Commissioner (Gardens) Chandrashekhar Rokade, had said that this would not be possible. "As per the new policy drafted, only those victims will get compensation wherein the trees lie on civic roads and not within private premises," Rokade had said.
Defending Rokade, Gupta clarified: "The policy has just been drafted and not approved yet. Hence, there are bound to be modifications in it right now. However, our stand on compensating victims won't change."