Tree fall, potholes, collapses in Mumbai: Earlier victims still await justice

Updated: Mar 16, 2019, 18:07 IST | Anurag Kamble and Faizan Khan

Locals affected by incidents such as tree fall, pothole accidents, building collapse, etc, continue to wait for both action against guilty, and compensation, while govt just orders enquiry after enquiry

Tree fall, potholes, collapses in Mumbai: Earlier victims still await justice

There is a pattern to the working of the government after every accident, such as the CSMT foot overbridge collapse, that kills and maims Mumbaikars. Almost every such incident has shown that whenever fingers are pointed towards civic/other officials for negligence leading to death, the government has done nothing apart from initiating departmental inquiries.

Many times compensation is announced, but their kin often complain that it never reached them. While the lives of Mumbaikars seem to be of no value to the government except before elections, it always seems to safeguard its officials from the law. But, victims' families continue to await justice.
Here are some incidents that demonstrate this:

2017: Tree fall
No. of deaths: 1
Arrests: None
Husband of victim awaits justice
The incident: On July 20, 2017, Kanchan Nath, 58, a former DD anchor, was crushed by a falling coconut tree at Chembur. She died on July 22. Investigations revealed that an application was made to the BMC (garden department) in February 2017 to cut the tree. But the garden department neglected it.
Status: Rajat Nath, Kanchan's husband, said, "I was told by the CM that action would be taken. He also ensured compensation. But nothing happened. I wrote to the police chief but there was no response. I had moved the HC to book BMC officials, but the petition is awaited."

Sai Darshan

2017: Ghatkopar building collapse
No. of deaths: 17
No. of arrests: 2
No redevelopment plan, residents forced to live on rent
The incident: On July 25, 2017, a four-storey residential building, Sai Darshan, collapsed in Ghatkopar. Police arrested local Shiv Sena worker Sunil Shitap and Ranjit Kamble, an architect, who had suggested changes in the structure for a nursing home.
Status: Both the accused are in judicial custody, but trial hasn't started. Residents had emphasised on booking Medical Health officers of BMC who had conducted a survey of the clinic. But BMC only held a departmental inquiry. Residents met Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who assured them of action against culprits. "We were given shelter in an SRA bldg. Now we want to reconstruct our building but authorities aren't helping us," said Virendra Singh, a resident.

Kinara Hotel fire

2015: City Kinara Hotel fire
No. of deaths: 8
No. of arrests: 2
No action against BMC officials, victims' kin fight for government compensation
The incident: On October 16, 2015, a fire in Hotel City Kinara in Kurla, killed eight people. Vinoba Bhave Nagar police arrested Sharad Tripathi, who ran the eatery, and Sudish Hegde, its owner.
Status: Both the accused have secured bail. Families of the deceased had demanded that BMC officials and the gas supplying agency be booked too. "Two sanitary inspectors from L ward were found guilty of dereliction of duty, but no criminal proceedings were initiated. HPCL did not act against Laxmi Gas agency which supplied gas cylinders to the hotel, which was not their registered customer," said Advocate Godfrey Pimenta, who represents the victims' families.

Dinesh Sangle

April 2018: Tree fall
April 2018: Tree fall
No. of deaths: 1
Arrests: None
Officials giving false assurances
The incident: On April 19, 2018, Dinesh Sangle, 38, died at Dadar (E), when a tree fell on him. Sangle is survived by two young daughters and his wife.
Status: Sangle's friend, Jayesh said, "His wife was promised monetary help and a job, but nothing happened. Officials and politicians are giving false assurances." He claimed BMC had pointed out that the tree which was on private premises, fell because those maintaining the premises did not trim or report about it.

Prakash Bilhore

2015: Death due to pothole
No. of deaths – 1
No. of arrests – 2
Father awaits compensation
The incident: On July 28, 2015, Prakash Bilhore, an 18-year-old resident of Andheri, fell in a water-filled pothole on Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road and died.
Status: An FIR under 304A (death due to negligence) was filed resulting in the arrest of an engineer of BMC and a site engineer of Tata Power. Both secured bail. The matter is being heard in Borivali Court. "No government authority showed interest in the case. I was not given any compensation," said Dadarao Bilhore, father of Prakash. Since then, he has filled around 820 potholes in Mumbai, earning the name 'pothole dada'.

Also Read: Mumbai: Civic body makes a U-turn, blames auditing agency for mishap

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