In the face of severe criticism and pressure, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Wednesday announced that it would compensate victims such as Antara Telang and Tamanna Bhojani, who were seriously injured because of untrimmed trees.
Municipal Commissioner Swadheen Kshatriya made the announcement after a stormy meeting with members of the Tree Authority, which saw many members referring to reports published in Hindustan Times. “We will come out with a policy on compensation to be given to victims in such cases in a month’s time,” Kshatriya said.
He added that owners of private properties would also be held accountable if the branch of a tree growing in their premises injures people.
The civic body has been receiving flak ever since Hindustan Times reported about the two accidents that injured 18-year-old St. Xavier’s student Antara and 30-year-old Tamanna. While Antara had to have her right leg amputated, Tamanna’s backbone was broken and she is bedridden.
A day after the HT report on Antara, on August 17, the BMC announced that it would overhaul its tree-trimming policy. On August 23, HT reported Tamanna’s accident, and a day later, the BMC revealed details of its new policy. Now, it has fixed a deadline and is drawing up a compensation plan.
“We realised there are issues such as inadequate equipment, unscientific inspection and lack of skilled manpower. Our new policy will address these issues,” Kshatriya said.
Tree Authority members demanded that the BMC give Tamanna a job as she lost hers because of her recovery period.