The June 24 tree collapse case which claimed two lives at the Fashion Street at Azad Maidan in Mumbai, brought everyone’s eyes again on it after BMC (Brihanmumbai Mahanagar Corporation) issued notices to two of it’s officers in-charge. In the show cause notice, the civic body has sought explanation as well as intimated that a departmental inquiry has been called-in to find out if there was negligence from their side. The two officers, reportedly, are Junior tree officer and an Assistant Superintendent of Gardens. The civic body, reportedly, found in it’s preliminary report that the incident could have been avoided if the rotten branches of the tree at Fashion Street could have been cut beforehand. The civic body has ordered a detailed inquiry in the case which will bring out the result, reportedly, within 3 weeks.
On June 24, gusty winds during the heavy rainfall caused a tree located at Fashion Street at Azad Maidan collapsed on stalls situated under the tree. A senior citizen, Bastian PV, 60, who was a passer-by died on the spot due to skull fracture while leaving another stall owner critically injured who died during the treatment. The tree had fallen on 5 in total wherein 3 had borne minor injuries and 2 lost their lives. The police had reached the spot and tried to discover the cause of the tree fall. “We have registered a case of accidental death and are conducting further investigation to check whether the civic body was negligent,” said Vasant Vakhare, Senior Inspector of Azad Maidan Police Station, quoted a source.
The report, sought by BMC’s Garden Department from the local Garden Department, stated several reasons for the tree collapse. One of the reasons stated, as per source, is that the civic body doesn’t have any scientific technique to identify if the branches of the tree are rotten from inside. The other reasons include locals’ resistance against cutting of the tree and gusty winds which were too monstrous that day due to the heavy rainfall that day. The report also points the lapses of allowing the stall owners to run their stalls without the efficient licenses. However, it did express it’s dilemma over officers’ inability to identify the tree under the threat list even when the length of the branches of the tree were almost 25-30ft long.
Additional Municipal Commissioner, Vijay Singhal, hopes to fix the responsibility after the report on the detailed inquiry is out. “We are undertaking all preventive measures to ensure that such incidents do not occur. This year, we ensured adequate trimming was done before monsoon,” said Singhal, quoted the source.