The crane at work to remove the trunk from Vikas Juvale's home

At around 8.15 pm on Monday evening, 18 members of a 20-member joint family had an extremely lucky escape when a tree collapsed on their home at Kaka Patil chawl.

And while 53-year-old Vilas Juvale's wife Vishaka and his niece also got out with a few minor bruises and scratches, the bigger question looming is: will the BMC be held responsible for this negligence? According to Juvale, the mishap is a direct consequence of the civic body's callousness.

"I had written to the BMC more than 15 days ago, requesting them to cut the tree before carrying on with the gutter construction work that is currently taking place," said Juvale. He adds that civic authorities even visited the spot and carried out a survey, but no action was ultimately taken.

Vikas Juvale, whose kin had a very lucky escape. Pics/ Satej Shinde
Vikas Juvale, whose kin had a very lucky escape. Pics/ Satej Shinde

BMC to blame?
"It is due to the BMC’s work," he said, "that the foundation of the tree had been weakened. As I was not at home at the time, I spoke to one of the workers and told him that we had written a letter. In spite of that, he still went ahead and carried out the construction." He added, "We will make BMC pay the damages."

What next?
Till 1.30 am, a crane, along with 10 workers, was trying to get the tree off the house. However, despite all the sawing and hacking, the tree removal went on into the early hours of the morning. Meanwhile, the Juvales said, "We have no other place to stay."