News Flash – 17 June 2017

National News

 

 

Government makes Aadhaar must for bank A/c’s, high value transactions

 

 

NEW DELHI: The government has made the Aadhaar card mandatory for opening bank accounts and conducting financial transactions of Rs 50,000 and above. Those with existing accounts will also have to submit their unique identification number by the end of December. Not disclosing it by December 31 will lead to suspension of the account. While the income tax department had earlier announced the decision to make Aadhaar mandatory for banking and financial purposes, the new regulations were notified through amendments to rules related to maintenance of records under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. The move came around the time the Supreme Court upheld the validity of an I-T Act provision, making Aadhaar a must for allotment of PAN cards and for filing income tax returns. The apex court had granted “partial relief” to those who do not have an Aadhaar number or an Aadhaar enrolment ID, ruling that the PAN of such individuals will not be cancelled for the time being.

 

The notification mandated quoting of Aadhaar along with PAN or Form 60 by individuals, companies and partnership firms for all financial transactions of Rs 50,000 or above with effect from June 1. After June 1, if a person does not have an Aadhaar number at the time of opening of account, then he has to furnish proof of application of enrolment for Aadhaar and submit the Aadhaar number to the bank within six months of opening of the bank account. Till now, it was mandatory to provide PAN number or Form 60 to banks while opening accounts or for high value transactions. For companies opening bank accounts, Aadhaar number of managers or employees holding an attorney to transact on the company’s behalf will have to be provided. In all other cases, identity should be verified while carrying out transaction of an amount equal to or exceeding Rs 50,000, and in any international money transfer operation.

 

 

Gurugram has a rain freeze, and it’s not even monsoon

The rain saw thousands of vehicles crawl on the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway on Friday.

 

 

GURUGRAM: The thin membrane that separates a functional and dysfunctional Gurgaon stood badly exposed on Friday with just 22mm rainfall bringing large parts of the city to a standstill all morning. And with monsoon now days away, there is fear that this could become a routine on all rainy days. Driving maps on Friday morning were a maze of red lines as thousands of motorists remained stuck on roads for anywhere between two and four hours. It revived memories of Gurujam, the massive 20-hour gridlock that began with a heavy downpour last July, as well as realization that Millennium City could still just as easily succumb to the elements because of its delicate civic infrastructure. The worst-affected were officegoers coming to the city from Delhi and Noida and those headed towards the corporate hubs of Cyber City and Udyog Vihar via Sohna road and Old Gurgaon. The Delhi-Gurgaon traffic remained choked almost till noon as both main roads connecting the two cities — the expressway and MG Road — got gridlocked because of waterlogged patches, two road cave-ins (on each on either road) and the huge volume of incoming office traffic that slowed to a crawl and froze.

 

Within Gurgaon, Sohna Road, Sectors 21 and 28 and areas near the mini secretariat choked. Sonia Sethi, a resident of Central Park resort, said she started for work at 9.10 am and got stuck near Rajiv Chowk for two hours. “I took a U-turn and went back home and returned after the jam was clear,” said Sethi. The core of Friday’s gridlock was Rajiv Chowk on the expressway, where work is on to build an underpass. The intersection got waterlogged because the main storm water drain is yet to be shifted, officials said. Diversions for the underpass slowed down traffic further. Similar diversions are also in place at three other busy intersections — Iffco Chowk, Signature Towers and Hero Honda Chowk. With these underpasses still several months from the finish line, the diversions will remain in place even during monsoon, raising the possibility of the expressway choking up every time in rains this season. Police commissioner Sandeep Khirwar was present at Rajiv Chowk to coordinate operations to keep traffic moving. “All of us will keep resolving challenges as they emerge,” he said.

 

Hero Honda Chowk, which was at the core of Gurujam, was better off this time because of the construction of a culvert that has ensured water from Badshapur drain does not overflow into the expressway. But several commuters complained the U-turn here was closed in the morning, reducing traffic to a crawl. Unruly drivers taking wrong lanes contributed to the jams. Morning traffic on the expressway crawled or froze after Shankar Chowk. Abhishek Prasoon, a commuter, said it took him an hour to reach Huda City Centre from Rajokri, a 20-minute drive on any day. DCP (traffic) Balbir Singh conceded the cave-ins aggravated the problem, one at Rajiv Chowk and the other near Iffco Chowk on MG Road. “Traffic was diverted from Bakhtawar Chowk, and at Iffco Chowk,” he said. Gurugrammers took to social media to criticize the authorities and the government’s inability to improve public transport that has led to such a large volume of cars.

 

 

Fire at Kathak maestro’s Khar school, shed gutted

 

 

MUMBAI: A fire broke out at Khar Danda’s iconic bungalow Nateshwar Bhavan, the home and school of Kathak maestro Gopi Krishna, on Friday. The three-storey structure was not damaged but the monsoon shed in the backyard was destroyed. Nateshwar Bhavan was the mecca of Kathak dancers in the 1970s-80s. After Gopi Krishna passed away in 1994, portions of it were leased to the Terence Lewis Dance Academy and individual tenants. His cousin, dancer Sitara Devi‘s daughter, Jayantimala said, “I have inquired with the tenants who say that the makeshift shed was burnt. The remainder was demolished by civic officials after the blaze”. “Prima facie it appears the fire was caused due to a short circuit from an adjacent structure,” said S K Bandgar, assistant divisional fire officer. It was learned that water splashed from the building might have triggered the short circuit. A watchman said the fire was spotted by a student on the ground floor. “The tarpaulin shed on the terrace caught fire and was spreading rapidly. The fire brigade arrived at the site after an hour,” he claimed. Terence Lewis later arrived and inspected the damage.

 

Noted Kathak dancers Shovana Narayan, Uma Dogra, Saswati Sen and Malabika Mitra recalled the iconic status that Nateshwar Bhavan holds on the country’s cultures cape. “This was the epicentre for all new and established dancers to congregate during Gopiji’s lifetime. It was here that I arrived to secure my footing 33 years ago when I came to Mumbai,” Dogra said. Anandini Thakoor, managing trustee of the Khar Residents Association, said, “During the monsoon, short circuit is a big hazard. It should be made mandatory for buildings to undergo checks and inspections. Tarpaulin catches fire rapidly and its use must be reduced”.

 

 

Man falls on Metro tracks while talking on phone

 

 

Gurgaon: A 23-year-old youth from Jharkhand, reportedly trying to show off his bravado to his girlfriend, fell in front of a Metro train at Iffco Chowk station on Friday afternoon. Eyewitnesses said the youth had jumped in front of a train as it entered the station, though his uncle told police he accidentally slipped and fell while talking on his cell phone. He had a miraculous escape as the train driver applied emergency brakes and stopped the train metres before his prone body. Ashish Verma, working with a private company based in IMT Manesar, was critically injured in the head. He was rushed to the nearby Umkal Hospital, from where he was referred to Delhi’s Safdurjung Hospital, where his condition is reported to be critical.

 

Ashish was waiting to travel to Delhi at around 12.35pm when the incident took place. Eyewitnesses told police Ashish was talking on the phone continuously for around 10 minutes, when he saw the train coming from Huda City Centre approach, started running towards it, slipped and fell from on the tracks. According to cops, Ashish is in love with a woman from Jharkhand. He was talking to her when the incident happened. He was heard telling her on the phone that he could sacrifice his life for her, and leaned towards the tracks when he fell. He though had a narrow escape, as he was hit on the head and leg. Cops said Ashish is still unfit to give a statement, but his uncle Sunil Verma said during a brief conversation he had with his nephew, that latter had told him he had slipped. “Yes he is in love with a girl, but there is no hurdle in their relationship from either family, so this is no suicide bid,” said Sunil. “The boy loves a girl, and has inscribed her name on his arm with a blade. There are similar marks on his chest as well. We will file a case only when we get his statement,” police said.

 

 

All aboard the Green Line: Bengaluru gets a 42km fast track today

Seven years late and not a day too early for traffic-stricken Bengaluru

 

 

BENGALURU: Eleven years after then PM Manmohan Singh laid the foundation stone for the Namma Metro project, Bengaluru is set to get a 42-km Metro network, fulfilling the one dream lakhs of Bengalureans share-a hassle-free commute. The Green Line section, connecting Mantri Square Sampige Road and Yelachenahalli, will be inaugurated by President Pranab Mukherjee between 6pm and 7pm on Saturday and will be open to the public from Sunday. The section, marking a 12km-stretch, will not only bring south Bengalureans on board, it will allow commuters on the north-south and east-west corridors to switch lines at the Kempegowda-Majestic Interchange. In all, the Metro is expected to cater to at least five lakh people with the complete rollout of the first phase. Residents eager to hop on to the first train will be able to do so around 4pm on Sunday, from Nagasandra. Sandeep B, who used to spend around two hours every day to travel from his home in RBI Layout near JP Nagar to his office at Mahalakshmi Layout, says he can’t wait to board a metro to work. “I have been waiting for this day to travel by Metro and save not just time but money too. If I drive my car to office, I would spend Rs 7,000 a month. Sometimes, I would take the office cab just to relax or take calls,” he says. Thousands of techies from south Bengaluru too are eagerly waiting to travel to Byappanahalli by Metro. “Now we do not have to endure the Silk Board junction trauma. And we don’t have to fear the rain either,” says Sushmit Pal, a techie. “With metro connectivity through Majestic, we do not need to take our bikes to work anymore and suffer daily stress in the traffic”.

 

 

The first phase, which was to be commissioned by December 2010, was delayed by seven years primarily due to two factors -land acquisition that got entangled in litigation and the difficulties of tunneling through mixed soil conditions. The project also faced opposition in the initial days over axing of trees and razing of heritage and iconic properties. With the resolution of some issues and the passing of time over others, the project has been much awaited to ease the traffic situation in the city. The Namma Metro team says it has gained valuable experience. “Phase I was new for all of us. We have learned our lessons from the execution of Phase I and will put that to use for the second phase,” says Pradeep Singh Kharola, MD of Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRCL). “Now we are ready to ensure that we complete the 72-km network planned in the second phase within the 2020 deadline”. Taking cognizance of the commencement of full-fledged operations on the north-south metro line from Monday, BMTC has announced that it will increase the number of feeder routes from the major stations along this stretch. BMTC has added 13 new routes to the existing 16 feeder routes along the east-west line (Byappanahalli to Nayandahalli). Feeder services offered by the BMTC is likely to solve the problem of last-mile connectivity, which has remained a persistent concern among Metro users. Currently, the BMTC is operating 85 buses along the 16 feeder routes, which cumulatively take 1,224 trips every day. With the addition of 13 new routes, BMTC will operate 205 buses along both the east-west and north-south lines. The 205 buses will make as many as 3,142 trips daily from Monday.

 

 

Rain exposes poor sewer network & civic lethargy

 

 

Charminar: The recent episodes of heavy rain have exposed both the apathy of the civic authorities and the poor condition of the drainage system in many parts of Old City. Heavy shower over the last few days have left most drains overflowing. Many streets and residential colonies were waterlogged. Overflowing drains and broken manhole covers left residents of Ambedkar Nagar colony and Mustaidpura feeling miserable. While people heading towards Mustaidpura have to wade through dirty water, vehicle drivers moving towards Tappachabutra Ambedkar Nagar colony will have to exercise caution owing to broken manhole covers. Residents of both localities alleged that despite repeated complaints, concerned authorities have failed to address their problems. Mohammed Rafi, one of the resident, told TOI, “Civic workers often claim that they remove the silt from the drains on a regular basis. If they do their job, how come most of the drains in the area overflow whenever it rains? It has been nearly a week since it rained, but the drains continue to overflow”. Ambedkar Nagar colony, where a number of business establishments and educational institutions are located, gets completely waterlogged when it rains heavily. Locals told TOI that most of the drains in the colony are clogged due to the absence of regular cleaning. Broken manhole covers pose a serious threat to motorists and pedestrians in the Mustaidpura area. Concerned residents put up branches of trees over them as a sign of danger. “Broken manhole covers pose a serious threat to everyone. Although the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation authorities claim to be addressing public problems every day, their apathy towards this area is enough to expose their irresponsible attitude,” Mohammed Ismail, a resident of Mustaidpura said.

 

 

International News

 

 

London fire: Death toll rises to 30; fears it could climb over 100

Photograph of fire-gutted Grenfell Tower

 

 

LONDON: The death toll in the horrific fire that engulfed a 24-storey tower in west London rose to 30 on Friday amid fears that it could climb to over 100 in one of the worst fire tragedies in the country. Metropolitan police commander Stuart Cundy said, “We know that at least 30 people who have died. The bodies have been taken to a morgue, but more bodies remain in the building”. “We always knew that the death toll would increase,” Cundy said, adding that there was nothing to suggest that the fire at the Grenfell Tower was started deliberately. The investigation into the cause of the fire that has now been extinguished will take weeks, he added. “Sadly we do not expect there to be any survivors,” Cundy said. Earlier today, Scotland Yard expressed fears that all the victims of the massive fire that engulfed a 24-storey tower in west London may never be identified. While 30 people have been confirmed dead, there are fears the death toll could hit hundreds. Cundy said there was “a risk that sadly we may not be able to identify everybody”. Asked about the number of dead, he said he hoped the death toll would not reach “triple figures” and indicated a criminal investigation into the cause of the fire is underway. “We as the police, we investigate criminal offences, I am not sitting here and saying there are criminal offences that have been committed, that’s why you do an investigation, to establish it,” he said. Queen Elizabeth II, accompanied by grandson Prince William, paid a visit to the Grenfell Tower this morning where the number of missing is estimated to be around 76. They met volunteers, local residents and community representatives while visiting Westway Sports Centre in west London, near the burnt down 24-storey Grenfell Tower.

 

British Prime Minister Theresa May has ordered a judge- led full public inquiry into the incident and is expected to pay a visit to the injured in one of the London hospitals after she faced criticism over her failure to meet the victims during a visit to the site on Thursday. Newly-appointed Indian-origin housing minister in the Department for Communities and Local Government, Alok Sharma, said, “Every single family will be rehoused in the local area”. Local residents shouted angry questions when London mayor Sadiq Khan paid a visit to the area. Friends and families of victims, including a furious seven-year-old, asked: “How many children died? What are you going to do about it?”. “The bad news, I’m afraid, is lots of people died in the fire. There are a lot of brave firefighters and police and ambulance workers. And once it’s safe, they are going to go into the building,” he said, in an attempt to calm the crowds. The local Grenfell Action Group had claimed, before and during a major 10-million-pound refurbishment of Grenfell Tower last year, that the block constituted a fire risk and residents had warned that access to the site for emergency vehicles was “severely restricted”.

 

Emergency services are to spend a third day searching for bodies in the burnt-out Grenfell Tower in North Kensington, where they were called to reports of a fire in the early hours of Wednesday. Their teams were forced to leave the 24-storey building yesterday afternoon when the fire restarted, delaying further the efforts to reach upper floors — where many victims are thought to have been trapped. Particular concerns have been raised about the rain- screen cladding used on the outside of the tower, which experts said might have accelerated the inferno that consumed the entire block in just 15 minutes. It has since emerged that the US had banned the type of cladding thought to have been used on Grenfell Tower. The leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council, the authority that owns the tower block, told the BBC it would not use the type of cladding fitted to Grenfell Tower in other buildings in the borough. Yesterday, the first victim of the fire was named as 23- year-old Syrian refugee Mohammed Alhajali.

 

 

1,00,000 civilians held by ISIS in Mosul’s Old City as ‘human shields’: UN

Smoke billows from Mosul’s western Al-Shifa district on June 15, 2017, during an offensive by Iraqi forces.

 

 

GENEVA: The UN said on Friday that Islamic State group jihadists may be holding more than 100,000 Iraqi civilians as human shields in the Old City of Mosul. Iraqi forces are fighting to retake Mosul from IS, after the jihadist group overran the city in 2014, imposing its brutal rule on its inhabitants. The UN refugee agency’s representative in Iraq Bruno Geddo said IS had been capturing civilians in battles outside of Mosul and had been forcing them into the Old City, one of the last parts of the city in their grip. “More than 100,000 civilians may still be held in the Old City,” Geddo told reporters in Geneva. “We know that ISIS moved them with them as they left… locations where the fighting was going on,” he said, using another acronym for IS, which is also known as Daesh or ISIL. “These civilians are basically held as human shields in the Old City”. With virtually no food, water or electricity left in the area, the civilians are “living in an increasingly worsening situation of penury and panic,” he said.

 

“They are surrounded by fighting on every side”. Snipers meanwhile try to kill anyone trying to leave the area under jihadist control, he said, adding that the few who manage to escape are “deeply traumatised”. Since the battle to retake Mosul began nine months ago, an estimated 862,000 people have been displaced from the city, although 195,000 have since returned, mainly to the liberated east of the city. That means 667,000 people remain displaced, nearly all of them from western Mosul, and are living in 13 camps set up by UNHCR or with host families. Geddo said the UN agency so far had provided assistance to more than 500,000 of the displaced people, and was also attempting to help those returning to Mosul, often to live in bombed-out buildings. “Many of these people are returning … to situations of penury,” he warned.


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