Since September 3 — the day Aslam Shaikh, 45, died when a branch fell on him in Carnac Bunder — his wife, Reshma, has been harassed by debtors.
On Tuesday, the municipal corporation gave the 41-year-old Rs 1 lakh as ex-gratia compensation, as per its new compensation policy for tree-fall victims. However, this amount will not solve all her problems.
“I have a debt of Rs 14 lakh to pay off. I have no family, no savings to fall back on. This money is of little use to me if I don’t have a job,” said Reshma, who now lives with a cousin on Mohammed Ali Road.
On Tuesday, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) also gave another tree-fall victim, Kalina resident Annie Fernandes, Rs 50,000 as compensation.
On September 27, Fernandes, 36, was returning home from work when the branch of an untrimmed drumstick tree fell on her, crushing her spine and fracturing her ribs.
Fernandes spent around 20 days in the hospital, including five days in coma. Her family spent nearly Rs 5 lakh on her treatment.
“I want to thank all those people who helped us [financially] during our tough times,” said Fernandes, who had lost her husband a few months before the incident.
On December 3, the Hindustan Times had reported that 18-year-old Antara Telang, who had lost her right leg in a branch collapse, and 30-year-old Tamanna Bhojani, whose spine got crushed under a branch, were the first two victims to receive Rs 50,000 as compensation from the BMC.
As per the compensation policy approved by the Tree Authority on September 27, the BMC would give Rs 1 lakh to the family of a victim killed; Rs 50,000 to victims who suffer permanent disability; and will take care of all medical expenses of those injured, provided they get treated in a civic hospital.
A sustained Hindustan Times series had pushed the municipal corporation to announce a revamp of its outdated tree-pruning techniques and institute a proper compensation policy for all the victims.
Of the five tree-fall victims of this monsoon, four have received their compensation amount.