Three men died in separate incidents of trees and branches falling due to heavy rain and strong winds in the city. Another man sustained severe injuries and is battling for his life after a metal rod fell on him.
Officials from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said a total of 39 trees had fallen on Friday while a total of 203 trees and branches had fallen in the last three days as pre-monsoon rains lashed the city.
A 38-year-old businessman died of grievous head injuries after a branch fell on his head while he was taking shelter from the rain in Malad. “The deceased has been identified as Shailesh Rathod. He was declared brought dead by staff at Shatabdi hospital after a branch fell on him at Nariyal wala colony in Vijaykar Wadi in Malad (West),” said an official from the BMC disaster management cell.
In another incident in Jogeshwari, a 48-year-old man succumbed to injuries while undergoing treatment at Holy Spirit hospital. “Anil Ghosalkar was injured on Thursday night when he was walking inside the compound of Takshashila society. A Gulmohar tree fell on him as he was talking over the phone. He was rushed to the hospital and was declared dead on Friday morning,” the official said.
Ghosalkar worked as a driver at a private firm in Andheri. He was standing under the tree when the incident happened. The BMC said it had sent a notice to the society to fell this tree.
A 43-year-old man died in Govandi when a branch fell on him at Anushakti Nagar, the BMC disaster cell reported. He was identified as Nitin Shirvalkar, who was an employee at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC). Officials said he died at the BARC hospital.
A 35-year-old man, identified as Rahul Saraf, was admitted at Global Hospital after a metal rod fell on him at the GST office in Parel on Thursday afternoon. Doctors said he had sustained severe brain injuries.
The BMC lodged more than 39 complaints on trees and branches falling in the city till 6 pm on Friday. “These incidents include trees on private as well as public premises. We don’t have the exact figures of the trees and branches yet,” the official from the disaster cell said.
According to sources in the BMC, 91 similar complaints were registered on Wednesday, 75 on Thursday and 39 on Friday.
“These trees are mostly falling due to heavy winds. The trees are weak during the first few days of rain. Some of these were on private property where residents failed to trim them, despite being sent formal notices,” a senior BMC official said.
“We sent notices to residential societies in Malad and Jogeshwari to trim the trees in April. Even the BARC was sent a notice in April to get the trees trimmed as the BMC does not intervene in that area,” said a BMC official.
Besides these cases, ever since the city received pre-monsoon showers three days ago, two people have died and four others have sustained injuries in similar incidents.
In Thane, a hoarding fell on Thursday followed by a traffic signal post on Friday. However, there were no casualties. According to activists, this is an indication of how the municipal corporations were unprepared for the monsoon.
“The monsoon has not even reached Mumbai, but the city is falling apart. The BMC has not trimmed trees and has no machinery to prosecute those responsible for the trees that fell on private property. The Tree Authority needs to look into the matter and the deaths should not be registered as accidental deaths, but caused by negligence,” said Rakesh Sonar, an activist.