Mumbai: Parents Of Kids Who Drowned In BMC Garden Tank In Wadala To Get ₹10 Lakh

Mumbai: Parents Of Kids Who Drowned In BMC Garden Tank In Wadala To Get ₹10 Lakh

The BMC counsel told a bench of Justices Gautam Patel and Kamal Khata that the compensation amount will be paid by the contractor, who was responsible for maintaining the Maharshi Karve Garden when the incident took place.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Tuesday, April 23, 2024, 08:49 PM IST
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Mumbai: Parents Of Kids Who Drowned In BMC Garden Tank In Wadala To Get ₹10 Lakh | Vijay Gohil

Mumbai: The BMC on Tuesday informed the Bombay High Court that it will grant an ad hoc compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the parents of Ankush Wagari, 5, and his younger brother Arjun, 4, who drowned in an open water tank in a civic garden on March 17.

The BMC counsel told a bench of Justices Gautam Patel and Kamal Khata that the compensation amount will be paid by the contractor, who was responsible for maintaining the Maharshi Karve Garden when the incident took place. On a court query, the counsel said that the water tank is now properly covered.

The HC, on April 1, had taken a suo motu (on its own) cognisance of the tragic deaths which occurred as the water tank was without a lid. Coming down heavily at the civic body, the HC had earlier asked, “what was the price of human life in the city?” Incidentally, on April 3, the municipality had undertaken a demolition drive at the Wadala bridge where the parents of the deceased lived on footpaths.

The razing of their shanty had irked the HC, questioning the BMC to explain whether the action was reasonable or reprisal, which followed after the court took up the issue.

The affidavit said that in 2008, the BMC had issued notice to remove the hutments on the Wadala bridge. After a survey, 49 out of 296 structures were found to be eligible for rehabilitation. Accordingly, they were given accommodation at the Lallubhai compound at Mankhurd.

After the cut off for the eligibility was extended from 1995 to 2000, inhabitants of 88 more structures were rehabilitated. On March 14, a letter was sent by the Matunga police station to the BMC, highlighting that the “frequent quarrels between the encroachers on the said footpath has resulted in an increased number of crimes. There are high chances that in future it could lead to a law and order situation,” the affidavit added.

Pursuant to the letter, the BMC planned another demolition drive under police protection, which was undertaken on April 3. The civic body emphasised that its demolition drive was not a knee-jerk response to the HC's suo motu cognisance of the kids' drowning.

In its order, the HC noted that father of the deceased, Manoj Wagari, who was present in the court, did not have a bank account. The bench has asked amicus curiae (friend of court) senior Advocate Sharan Jagtiani to help the father withdraw the compensation, which will be deposited in the court.

If Wagari wished, he could open a zero-balance account with any of the banks where the HC has an account and the registry could assist him in opening it, the bench said.

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