A 45-year-old is dead and his wife critically injured after a branch from yet another unpruned tree crashed onto their bike on Friday night.
This incident comes less than 10 days after the municipal corporation — in response to a series of articles carried by Hindustan Times — promised a new policy on the issue.
Mohammed Aslam Sheikh was returning from visiting his comatose mother at a Nagpada hospital when a large branch from a banyan tree crashed onto his bike. He died on the spot; his wife Reshma, who was riding pillion, has suffered a brain injury that doctors say could leave her paralysed.
Sheikh, a security guard with Bharat Petroleum at the Mumbai Port Trust, leaves behind a family of three: Reshma, a bank clerk; a mentally unstable younger brother; and his comatose mother.
Civic officials, meanwhile, claim trees on the entire stretch along P. D’Mello Road near Carnac Bunder had been pruned frequently both before and during the monsoon.
“We cannot comment specifically on this one tree,” said ‘A’ ward assistant municipal commissioner Sunil Dhamne. “We’ll have to look into what exactly went wrong in this case.”
Last month, Hindustan Times reported two similar incidents, prompting the BMC to plan an overhaul of its tree-pruning system. On August 16, HT reported how 19-year-old Antara Telang lost her right leg when a branch from a peepul tree came crashing down on her in Sion.
A week later, HT carried another Page 1 article on Tamanna Bhojani (30), whose backbone has been crushed and several vertebrae fractured when a branch from a jamun tree fell on her in Kandivli.
This time, unlike both earlier cases, where the tree was situated on private property, the banyan tree was on a civic road.
Following the earlier reports, the BMC chief had also announced a compensation policy to be put in place by the end of September.
“Aslam has paid with his life for the BMC’s carelessness,” said a distraught Wasim Khan, Shaikh’s childhood friend and neighbour.