The families of victims of tree collapses will have the compensation amount in their bank accounts soon, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has said.
The BMC has sanctioned ex-gratia relief according to the new compensation policy.
The seven-member committee, formed to decide the compensation to be awarded to the victims, held its first meeting on Thursday and sanctioned compensation for the families of the three people who died and the 11 people injured in tree collapses this year.
“We had called the ward level officials, under whose jurisdiction these cases occurred, and discussed each case,” Chandrashekhar Rokade, deputy municipal commissioner (gardens), said. “Each of these victims should get the amount within 10 days.”
The Hindustan Times has carried a series of reports on how the BMC’s callous attitude and outdated tree-pruning mechanism was putting people at risk. Following the reports, the municipal commissioner had announced that a compensation policy and a new tree-trimming mechanism will be in place by the end of September.
In the first week of September, tree collapses claimed two victims, Aslam Shaikh, 45, and Rahim Shaikh, 50, in south Mumbai.
The policy later formulated said the family of a victim killed in a tree collapse will get a compensation of Rs 1 lakh while a victim who suffers a permanent disability will get Rs 50,000. The BMC will cover all medical expenses of those seriously injured, if they are treated in a civic hospital. The committee will examine each case and decide the compensation.
The victims’ families had earlier expressed displeasure with the amount of compensation.
“There was a suggestion that the civic body should tie up with an insurance company and pay a regular premium so that the amount offered as compensation can be increased,” a member of the committee said, requesting anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media.
The railways, the member said, had a similar system.
“The price of a ticket includes a safety charge, which is used to pay the premium, and the insurance company then compensates accident victims,” he said. “Since the BMC anyway collects so many taxes, we can easily make such an arrangement.”
Rokade said increasing the amount of compensation is beyond the committee’s scope. “We are considering several suggestions, which will be forwarded to the senior officers,” he said.