The right to good roads may be a fundamental right, but as Mahim resident Marilyn Remedios recovers from her head injuries due to a killer pothole, authorities have no clue as to how she can be compensated
She does not remember anything that happened before April 6, 2015. A piece of her skull lies in a zip-bag in her house to be reattached with surgery, but Marilyn Remedios has not been compensated for the accident which left her in this state.
Marilyn Remedios at her Bandra home. Pic/Sameer Markande
With the Bombay High Court ruling on May 20 that the right to good roads is a fundamental right of citizens and that road accident victims are entitled to compensation, the need for a policy by the BMC to compensate road accident victims has come to the fore.
Besides the BMC could not blacklist contractor who worked on the road with the killer pothole because the traffic police did not give him permission to put up barricades, which could have prevented the accident.
At 5 am on April 6, Marilyn was going to Dadar station on a bike with her husband Sheldon. Their bike ran over a pothole near Mahim church and the couple fell. While Sheldon suffered minor injuries, Marilyn had a head injury and was left bleeding.
They were rushed to Bandra's Bhabha hospital and later shifted to Lilavati Hospital. A surgery was conducted on Marilyn that very day but she slipped into a 25-day coma. Finally, on April 27, she came out of the coma, but lost her memory.
"She is on constant medication and will undergo another surgery in a couple of months," Sheldon said. The first surgery on Marilyn cost Rs 13 lakh which was paid by family, friends, acquaintances as well as donations from across the world.
Unfortunately, Marilyn did not have medical insurance. "I don't want compensation, but I want the BMC to hold someone accountable for the accident," said Sheldon.
Sanjay Deshmukh, additional municipal commissioner who headed the primary inquiry, said: "Prima facie it was seen that the contractor had applied for permission to put up barricades in the area but was denied so by the traffic police. That's why we did not prosecute or blacklist him."
ACP (Western region-traffic) SR Unhavne said, "The fact that we gave permission for road work itself means that permission has been given to put up barricades."
Ashok Pawar, chief engineer, roads and traffic department, BMC, said, "I don't remember any case where BMC paid such a compensation. But it has to be decided on a case-by-case basis."
Making a wish
Marilyn, an avid cricket fan, was overjoyed when she received a call from Sachin Tendulkar after her discharge. The master blaster's wife Anjali had spoken to Sheldon, after coming across reports detailing Marilyn's plight. Sheldon says that the cricketing legend has promised to meet Marilyn after the conclusion of the IPL tournament.