A day after the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) announced a compensation policy for tree-fall victims, on Tuesday, it drew criticism from corporators and families of victims, who said the amount is meagre.
The first incident reported by HT, on August 16, was the case of St Xavier’s student Antara who lost her right leg after a tree branch collapsed on her in Sion. On Tuesday, Anjani Telang, her mother, said the amount was a “pittance”. “We have spent around Rs 2.5 lakh on her treatment. And the prosthetic leg fitted on Antara’s right leg will need to be upgraded every two years or so. That will cost around Rs 50,000,” she said.
In its August 23 edition, HT had reported how Kandivli resident Tamanna Bhojani’s (30) backbone had been crushed when a branch from an untrimmed tree collapsed on her. More than three months after the incident, Tamanna remains bedridden. “We have spent Rs 1.5 lakh on her treatment,” said her brother Chetan.
Nazeera Shaikh, who lost her father Rahim Shaikh when a tree collapsed on the roof of the Tata Sumo he was driving, outside the GPO, said: “He was the sole breadwinner. My mother is ill. How long will Rs 1 lakh last?”
The policy does not even cover Tamanna’s accident because she has not been treated at a civic hospital, as required. As per the policy, there are three types of compensation: Rs 1 lakh for the family of a victim killed; Rs 50,000 for victims who suffer permanent disability; and all medical expenses taken care of for those injured, provided they are treated in a civic hospital.
Chandrashekhar Rokade, deputy municipal commissioner (gardens), said the committee would look into Tamanna’s case.
Both Antara’s and Tamanna’s cases deserve special attention, said Niranjan Shetty, Tree Authority member.
“I demand that additional compensation be paid to both, and that the BMC offer a job to Tamanna,” Shetty said. Ram Barot, BJP corporator and Tree Authority member, said: “The policy offers Rs 1 lakh to the family of those dead. Such an amount has no value.”
“The amount is an ex-gratia payment for relief to those affected by tragedies. Even the state’s policies offer the same amount of ex-gratia to victims of disasters,” said Rokade.