Malani Khade was on her way to pick up her grandchildren from their tuition class when she was injured in the tree collapse on Wednesday. It will be some time before the 50-year-old can resume her daily duty of picking up her grandchildren because she has fractured her right elbow and is in intensive care at Surana Sethia hospital.
Khade was one of the three hurt in the tree collapse at Aditiya Villa in Chembur on Wednesday morning. The other two — Hamid Shaikh, 78, and Tarun Fafoliya, 55 — sustained minor injuries and were discharged immediately after treatment.
“It was her daily routine to bring my children back home at that time. She stopped by to talk to Fafoliya and the tree fell right at that moment,” said Jyoti, her daughter-in-law.
At around 11.20am Siddharth Mehta, owner of the three-storied Aditiya Villa near Sion-Trombay road, was supervising the demolition of the building’s compound wall to make way for a gate. After the wall was brought down, a tree that was resting on it lost support and fell on the three residents of the adjoining Lala Aziz chawl.
Agitated residents claimed that Mehta was negligent and did not even bother to take the injured to hospital. “He said that he would pay for the damage, but that will not change what has happened. It was sheer luck that the children were not playing outside, or else they would have lost their lives,” said RK Singh, a resident of Lala Azeez chawl. Police have registered a case of negligence against Mehta, who has not yet been arrested.
Fafoliya, another victim of the tree fall, said, “I was passing by when Khade stooped to to ask me the prevailing market price of grains. We were discussing this when the tree fell. We noticed that the workers were demolishing the wall, but we did expect the tree to fall. We ran for shelter but ended up getting hurt.”
Sarvar Shaikh, 33, was taking a shower when he heard screams from outside. “My father was sitting in the verandah as usual chatting with other residents. We ran out to see what had happened when we heard noises. We are grateful to God that he is not seriously injured,” said Sarvar.