Mumbai: Tree crash injures three people in Andheri

Updated: May 27, 2019, 11:05 IST | mid-day online correspondent

Three pedestrians were injured on Saturday after a recently trimmed tree collapsed on at Andheri East

Mumbai: Tree crash injures three people in Andheri
Representational image

Three pedestrians were injured, including one who sustained serious injuries on Saturday, after a recently trimmed tree collapsed on them near Pinnacle Park building at Andheri East. The incident has raised questions on BMC's monsoon preparedness claim. One of the victims, identified as C K Gopalakrishnan (38), underwent surgery on Sunday at Holy Spirit Hospital in Andheri for injury to his spinal cord caused due to the incident. According to his family members, he also sustained multiple fractures on other parts of his body. The other two pedestrians suffered minor injuries and a parked vehicle was also damaged in the incident.

The victim, Gopalakrishnan at around 6.30 pm had stepped out of Logistic Company's office on Mahakali Caves Road where he works and was waiting for an auto to head to Mira Road when the tree came crashing down. Rajan Gupta, an eye-witness, said, "I was standing close by when one big branch fell followed by another branch within seconds. Passersby extricated the badly injured victim and rushed him to a hospital in an auto."

According to Times of India, BMC's garden department claimed they had trimmed the tree a fortnight ago for safety reasons. They accused the BMC's Storm Water Drain (SWD) department of damaging the tree's roots during drain work, stating it triggered the crash. Activist Zoru Bhathena said, "If there was root damage, the tree would have collapsed at the roots, not like this. Instead of starting the trimming from the top, the BMC trims only the lower branches which puts trees in shock and causes more damage to them. In this incident, during trimming the top load might have got imbalanced. It caused the tree to bend and then snap. It is most likely due to lack of poor trimming and not the SWD work."

Zoru Bhathena added hand-held MRI-type machines are used to check the internal health of trees across the world, but the country's richest civic body doesn't have this device. "Before the onset of monsoon, the BMC trims roadside trees across the city and issues notices to societies to trim trees in their premises that are potentially dangerous. Societies have to take the BMC's permission to trim trees. There are around 29.8 lakh trees in the city, out of which 15.6 lakh are on private premises, while the rest are under BMC's jurisdiction. Last year, four persons died between April and June in tree collapse incidents."

The tree involved in Saturday's incident was along the roadside and the activists suggest trees standing on pavements and roads must be provided some space for their roots. Concretization around the trees affects the health of trees. In Saturday's incident also, it has been noticed that no breathing space was provided to the tree roots.

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