The very streetlight which benefits motorists as well as pedestrians to move around on dark streets in the night claimed the life of the sole breadwinner for a family of six at the flower market in Dadar (West). Kantabai Patole (50) died in a freak accident after a rusted lamppost fell on her shanty on July 28.
Around 5.30 pm Patole was weaving a garland while her mother, Kalabai Waghmare, was resting on the roadside near the hut. Her two sons and two daughters were out when the incident occurred.
“Suddenly the streetlight next to the flyover collapsed on the hut. It knocked my daughter unconscious. She sustained grievous injuries and was bleeding profusely,” said a teary-eyed Kalabai.
Though Patole was rushed to the KEM Hospital, she succumbed to her injuries. “She died around 11.45 pm. I have seen my mother struggle to make a decent living so that we don’t sleep hungry. We used to survive on Rs 100 a day,” said Patole’s elder son Santosh, accusing the BEST of poor maintenance of the streetlights.
Sources claimed the lamppost was installed some 20 years ago and raised doubts over the regular maintenance of streetlights in the city.
“Those in-charge of maintaining streetlights said they are supposed to inspect about 35 every day, but I discovered that only 15 to 20 streetlights were being checked daily,” said S Tripathi, a BEST Committee member.
Commenting on Patole’s death, BEST General Manager O P Gupta said that it was an unfortunate incident. “Now we have ordered inspection of all the streetlights installed before the year 2000. Also, any lamppost older than five years will undergo periodic inspections,” he said.
Apart from lambasting the maintenance regime, a few of the committee members felt that the compensation of a meagre Rs 50,000 to victim’s kin was a joke. They said the compensation rules, which were framed 20 years ago, were archaic. And it wasn’t until recently that the compensation amount was hiked from Rs 30,000 to Rs 50,000 considering the inflation. They even said that the BEST should give Patole’s kin a job.
“As a special case, we will give a compensation of Rs 1 lakh to the family” said Sanjay Ambole, BEST Committee chairperson.
Number of lampposts in the city
Number of streetlights installed on the lampposts