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Branch falls, biker crushed

mumbai Updated: Sep 05, 2010 02:03 IST
Kunal Purohit
Kunal Purohit
Hindustan Times
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A couple on a bike were crushed on Friday night after a banyan tree branch fell on them, killing the husband.

Mohammed Aslam Sheikh, 45, a security guard at the Mumbai Port Trust, was on his way home with his wife Reshma after visiting his comatose mother in hospital. Severely injured Reshma, a clerk with Memon Bank, is in hospital.

This is the third such incident in Mumbai since June.

On June 18, 30-year-old Tamanna Bhojani's backbone was crushed and several vertebrae were fractured when a branch of a jamun tree fell on her.

The next month, Antara Telang, 19, lost her right leg when a branch of a peepul tree came crashing down on her. The leg had to be amputated.

An outcry after these accidents forced the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation to change its tree pruning policy. It announced that the new mechanism and a compensation policy would be in place by the end of September.

Aslam Khan, a social worker at the P D'Mello Road in south Mumbai, said, "The couple were lying on the road for about 20 minutes without being attended to. Aslam's body was found crushed under the weight of the branch and the bike."

Wasim Khan, Shaikh's friend and neighbour, said, "Only if the BMC had been more careful with pruning trees, Aslam wouldn't have had to pay with his life."

Unlike the two earlier cases, in which the trees were in private premises, the banyan tree branch that fell was on a civic road.

Civic officials, however, claimed that the entire stretch of that road had been pruned frequently before and during the monsoon.

Ward officer Sunil Dhamne said, "We cannot comment specifically about this one tree, but we have been regularly pruning trees on this road. We'll have to look into what exactly went wrong in this case."