A 91-year-old woman died after a branch of a tree fell on her near Banganga at Malabar Hill on Monday. According to the police, the incident took place at around 6.30 pm when the deceased, identified as Leela Gokuldas Sukhi, was out on an evening walk.
Sukhi’s sister Mahalaxmi Naik said: “She would go for a walk every evening and would return after visiting a nearby temple. Earlier, she would go for a walk in the morning but due to the hot weather she changed it to the evening…” “On Monday, I was informed that a branch fell on her while she was seated near the temple,” Naik added. She was admitted to a nearby hospital, but after doctors’ suggestion, her family shifted her to GT hospital. She succumbed to her injuries around 10 pm.
Police have registered a case of accidental death. “We are trying to find out whether there is any negligence. We are investigating whether the tree needed trimming or the branch was weak. The family has no complaint against the BMC,” said an officer from Malabar Hill police station. Sukhi was staying with her sister at Chatre building in Malabar Hill. “Sukhi’s husband Gokuldas expired 40 years ago. Since then we had been staying together… our brother, who stays in Borivili, visits regularly,” said Naik.
Meanwhile, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which is responsible for trimming and pruning of trees in public spaces across the city, said the tree was located inside the premises of Kavale Math, a cultural organisation. The civic body alleged that the Math management did not do anything despite BMC asking them to get the branches of the tree in its premises trimmed. “The tree has thick foliage and the branch that fell was spread over the lane next to the property. It could have been trimmed, but we have not got any application for permission to trim the tree from the organisation (Kavale math),” said a senior official from the BMC’s garden department.
The official added that the garden department had written to the Math, asking it to trim 10-12 trees in its premises in November 2017. The Math did not do anything, said a civic official.