Girl's death at Mumbai garden: Report indicts contractor, ward staff
Addl civic chief's probe into girl's death at South Mumbai's Cooperage Garden recommends departmental inquiry against officials for negligence
Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC's) report into the death of a seven-year-old girl during a horse ride at Cooperage Garden was tabled in the group leaders' meeting yesterday. The investigation report prepared by Additional Municipal Commissioner A L Jarhad indicted the contractor, Opera Infra Project, which was responsible for maintaining the garden, staff from the garden department for not taking concrete steps to stop the illegal horse rides and failing to keep tabs on maintenance by A ward's maintenance department.
Jarhad, in his report, proposed a full-fledged departmental inquiry and disciplinary action against the staff and action against the contractor as per the contract conditions. On November 6, 2017, Janhavi Sharma had died on falling off the horse during a ride. The animal had lost balance after encountering a pothole in the garden, throwing Janhavi off its back. Later, it was revealed that horse rides had been happening at the garden illegally, despite a high court order banning Victoria's and other horse rides, following a petition of cruelty against animals.
Besides the court ban, BMC had put up a board at the garden disallowing horse rides, and yet, the activity had continued. The investigation report had remarked that the ward and garden department staff did not take strict steps to stop the activity, which led to the accident. The report also asked all ward officers to prepare a list of places in their respective wards where horse rides or Victoria's were operational.
Samajwadi Party corporator Rais Shaikh said, "We have asked the municipal commissioner to expedite the departmental inquiry against staff, so that punishment can be given as soon as possible. All the guilty should face stern action to ensure such incidents do not recur."