Monthly Archives: June 2019

News Flash – 29 June 2019

National News

 

 

First Flush of Monsoon slows Mumbai in its Tracks

 

Mumbai: Friday’s heavy showers caused waterlogging in the city’s chronic flooding spots, including Hindmata, King Circle, S V Road in Bandra and Khar, Wadala and Sewri, raising questions about BMC’s monsoon-preparedness. But there was a silver lining: Rainwater receded much faster compared to the previous years. For instance, in the morning, traffic movement was hampered at Dadar’s Hindmata Junction—a saucer-shaped, low-lying flood prone area where the BMC had taken up partial augmentation of storm water drains as part of its pre-monsoon works. The BMC immediately pressed Britannia pumping station into service and rainwater was flushed out. “While waterlogging did occur, we ensured that rainwater was drained out as quickly as possible so that motorists would not be inconvenienced,” said a civic official. In the eastern suburbs, there was waterlogging in several areas in King Circle, Wadala, Sion and on LBS Marg in Kurla, Ghatkopar, Vikhroli and Mulund; while in the western suburbs, parts of SV Road in Khar and Bandra were submerged. King Circle activist Nikhil Desai said even Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Marg in Wadala, though not a low-lying area, was inundated.

 

 

“It was surprising that the area got waterlogged even though there was no high tide on Friday,” he said. Sion resident G R Vora said waterlogging in King Circle’s Gandhi Market area resulted in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the arterial B A Road. “In the afternoon, the jam caused a backlog stretching up to Chembur. But once the rain subsided, the situation improved,” he said. “There was waterlogging near Shanmukhananda Hall in Sion too.” While activist Anil Galgali observed that rainwater drained out faster, Khar resident Zoru Bhathena complained that the ‘problem areas’ on SV Road have not been fixed properly owing to which year after year, these stretches get inundated on a heavy rain day. Bhandup resident Sandeep Joshi complained that residents of Village Road and Datta Mandir Road, near LBS Marg, face waterlogging every monsoon. Since it is a low-lying area, the BMC uses pumps, but it is not the solution. There is need to clear and widen nullahs.

 

 

Heavy Rain Warning for Central, South Gujarat

 

Ahmedabad: On Friday, the southwest monsoon had covered half of Gujarat, extending from Dwarka to Ahmedabad, and several places in the state received heavy rainfall. The forecast for Saturday by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) states that heavy to very heavy rainfall is likely at several places in central and south Gujarat. According to the IMD, till June 28 the state had got just 66% of the rainfall compared to a normal monsoon, recording a 33% deficit. Met officials hope that the coming days will see the deficit reduced. Jayanta Sarkar, regional director of the IMD, said that the southwest monsoon has advanced further over Gujarat. “The monsoon has covered most of Saurashtra, south and central Gujarat as on Friday. We issued heavy to very heavy rainfall warnings for Friday and Saturday.

 

 

While parts of Bharuch, Surat and Panchmahal received heavy rainfall, Saturday could bring rain in the districts of Valsad, Navsari, Dangs, Surat, Anand, Kheda, Chhota Udepur, Panchmahal, Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar and the Union Territories of Daman, Dadra & Nagar Haveli,” Sarkar said. Sarkar added that the rainfall has been precipitated by a cyclonic circulation over southern Madhya Pradesh and a trough formed over the Gujarat region. Coastal Saurashtra, including Gir Somnath and Amreli districts, is also expected to get rain, he added. According to the Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority (GSDMA), on Friday till 6pm, Karjan in Vadodara district had received the most rainfall, 102mm, followed by Dholera in Ahmedabad district (68mm), Vapi in Valsad district (50mm) and Dhandhuka in Ahmedabad district (32mm).

 

 

Girl Electrocuted by wet DGVCL Pole

A CCTV video grab of the incident.

 

 

Surat: Like every day, the Chavda family was waiting for Kajal to come home for lunch on Friday. But little did they know that their 20-year-old daughter will never return home again. The young woman’s hand accidentally touched an electric pole near her house near Kargil Chowk and she died on the spot. Kajal was walking towards her house in Puna’s Prabhu Darshan society in the afternoon, skirting puddles created morning rain. She accidentally touched the ill-maintained light pole on the roadside. While shocked passers-by were left screaming for help, Kajal slowly fell down on the ground, her hand stuck to the pole. The father and passers-by rushed her to SMIMER hospital, but the doctors there declared her dead on admission. Kajal supported her family by working in a zari unit in Narved Sagar Society at Kargil Chowk. The wet single street light pole there was an open invitation to disaster, waiting to ensnare scores of innocent people passing by it throughout the day.

 

 

Irate locals gathered on the spot in hundreds and started demanding strict action against responsible officers of Dakshin Gujarat Vij Company Limited’s (DGVCL). Even elected representatives reached the spot and nobody allowed the DGVCL or even the police to carry out any work for hours. “We are in process of registering complaint against the power company and will investigate the case to a conclusion,” an official from Puna police said, adding that they are registering offence under IPC 304 for criminal negligence leading to death against DGVCL and whosoever is found guilty during investigation. Superintendent engineer of DGVCL, GB Patel said, “It is a simple low-tension line that supplies power to the single streetlight meter. We reached there within an hour, to find out how the incident occurred. But people did not allow us to investigate. They demanded immediate underground cabling before lodging a police complaint”. He further said the discom’s authorities will go there again to find the actual cause and take action against the guilty.


News Flash – 28 June 2019

National News

 

 

City Stares at Dengue Sting, GHMC on High Alert

 

Hyderabad: The city might be staring at a ‘dengue epidemic’ this year and government authorities are preparing for the same. An internal order has been issued by the state health authorities asking all district authorities to keep a list of transfusion centres ready, in view of the large number of cases that are expected. Dengue cases saw a rapid rise in 2018 as compared to 2017. Going by official statistics, a total of 6,362 cases were recorded across the state in 2018 as against 3,827 recorded in 2017. Of these, the largest chunk of cases was recorded in Hyderabad and neighbouring Rangareddy, Sangareddy and Medak, which partially fall in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) limits. Along with dengue, even chikungunya cases jumped to 1,063 in 2018 from just 58 in 2017. The large number of cases in the city suggest a high number of breeding sites for mosquitoes. While GHMC authorities are currently carrying out a detailed survey of the sites and preparing an action plan, the sites identified as breeding grounds for mosquitoes are construction sites, old and dilapidated buildings-especially state-run hostels, nurseries, open scrap godowns, lakes and ponds, say officials.

 

 

Both dengue and chikungunya are spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito which can easily breed not just in the open but even inside houses and buildings. Mosquitoes that spread dengue (Aedes aegypti) breed in fresh water, which makes them far more dangerous than those that spread malaria. “Since the dengue spreading mosquito (Aedes aegypti) breeds in and around houses by laying eggs on the inside of utensils, an egg laid last year can also spread the virus this year. Therefore, Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) in select places is being taken up this year, as many buildings like schools and municipal buildings are found to be breeding spots. This is especially true for districts with a high incidence of dengue,” said a senior official from the state health department. Minor engineering works (repair of pits and potholes) are also being planned. “We will begin fumigation in schools and hostels from first week of July. Also, hatcheries are being prepared for gambusia fish which will be released in ponds and wells,” said V Venkatesh, chief entomologist, GHMC.

 

 

Auto Driver Robs Six Women of Gold Worth Rs.27.5L, held

IN THE NET: Police tracked Sundar with the help of CCTV camera footage.

 

 

Chennai: Police on Thursday arrested an autorickshaw driver who conned more than six elderly women of 30 sovereigns of gold jewellery worth nearly Rs.7.5 lakhs. Police said A Sundar, 30, of Perumbakkam, was arrested based on the complaint of E Anjalakshi, 64, of Sholinganallur. According to the woman, Sundar approached her on April 26 when she was on the road near her house. He told her a resident in the neighbourhood was performing ‘sumangali puja’ and said that if she attended it, she would get Rs. 1,000 from the house owner. Believing him, Anjalakshi boarded the autorickshaw. When she reached the house where a programme was being organised, Sundar told her to remove the jewellery as the residents might refuse to give her the money believing that she was wealthy. Anjalakshi handed over 2.5 sovereign of jewellery to Sundar. He then told her to enter the house and said he would come after parking the vehicle. But soon the woman realised that there was no puja and she rushed outside only to find the driver had fled. Following her complaint, police collected CCTV camera footage from various locations and zeroed in on the suspect. Police said Sundar cheated six women in Sholinganallur, Semmancherry, Thoraipakkam, Adyar and Thiruvanmiyur using the same modus operandi.


News Flash – 27 June 2019

National News

 

 

CCTV Grabs Help Police Arrest Man for Robbing MLA

 

 

Kalyan: A special task force of railway crime branch, with Kalyan railway police help, solved one of Monday’s two MLA robbery cases, with the arrest of Ahmed Habibali Sayyed (28). Sayyed had robbed Rahul Bondre, who was aboard Vidharba Express. When it halted at Kalyan, Sayyed allegedly entered the AC coach and fled with a purse containing Rs24,000, a phone worth Rs26,000, an ATM card and other important documents. Bondre tried to chase him but Sayyed alighted and ran away. Police teams scanned through CCTV footage, and saw the accused fleeing with the bag. Santosh Dhanvate (crime branch) said, “When we showed our informants pictures of Sayyed, they identified him as a history-sheeter from Kalyan who had been arrested for robberies at Kalyan and CSMT, and was out on bail”. Police then found his address but on reaching there, they were told by his mother that he had left for Nashik. Ajit Bartakke, senior police inspector of Kalyan GRP, said, “Our team learned that Sayyed was coming back to Kalyan by Kashi Express. Police then laid a trap at Kalyan station and arrested him when he alighted at 12.30am on Wednesday”. GRP said they were yet to crack Sanjay Raimulkar’s theft case, registered at Thane station.

 

 

Caught on Camera: Rs.18-lakhs Robbery in outer Delhi

 

 

New Delhi: A day after a Rs 18-lakh robbery in outer Delhi’s Narela, a CCTV footage, which has gone viral, shows the suspects fleeing with the cash bag. They are still on the large. A businessman, Raj, and his manager, Mani Ram, were going through a residential area on a mini-scooter when two men on a black motorcycle came from behind, the footage shows. As the victims were about to reach the end of the lane, the motorcyclists waylaid the victims. The pillion-rider, wearing a white shirt and covering his face with a piece of cloth, got off and tried to snatch the cash bag from Mani Ram, who was also riding pillion. A scuffle ensued during which the accused pulled out his gun and threatened the manager. But as Mani Ram continued to resist, the robber finally shot at him in the leg. The footage shows the robber then quickly ran back to the motorcycle and fled with his associate. After analysing the footage, the police believe that the accused knew about the victims’ movement from the bank and had been waiting for them in the lane. The role of an insider who gave a tip-off to the suspects is also being probed. Police teams are trying to find out from the businessman if he had received any threat call before the incident. The footage is being shared with local informers and police teams of neighbouring Haryana.


News Flash – 26 June 2019

National News

 

 

Police Scan over a Thousand Mobile Phone numbers to Crack Burglary of 800 Diamonds

 

 

Mumbai: A thousand mobile numbers and a dozen CCTV cameras had to be scanned to get a breakthrough in a Charni Road robbery case of 800 diamonds worth Rs 1.3 crore. The D B Marg police managed to crack the April 30 case this month and have arrested three people. The incident took place at the Charni Road office of a businessman on the night of April 30 but came to light only on May 2, when the complainant, who resides at Nepean Sea Road, found the office door broken. “When the businessman entered the office, he was shocked to find that two lockers were broken open and nearly 800 pieces of diamonds kept inside were missing. The office has CCTV cameras but the digital video recorder (DVR) was also stolen,” said an officer. The investigating team visited the office, which is located on the first floor of a building, but could not get a lead. “We began scanning CCTV cameras installed in other buildings in the lane. We found images of two men leaving the building but their faces were not very clear and only basic descriptions could be obtained. The photos were circulated among informers but nothing much came out,” he added. Cops then turned to mobile network experts and began looking at dump data of mobile networks—all activity recorded by mobile phone towers in a particular area-—from the night of the burglary. “We found that more than a thousand numbers were active,” said a source, adding that the police analysed all the numbers and tallied phone locations.

 

 

“Finally, we zeroed in on around a dozen cellphone numbers and began inquiring about them discreetly. This work took weeks. When we received the call records of Vinod Singh (49), we picked him up and questioned him,” added the source Initially, Singh, a Nalasopara resident, tried to buck questions but later he confessed to the crime and spilled beans on his associate, Vinod Sahani (40), who resides in Bhayander. Phones of both the accused were active near the crime scene on the night of the burglary. “The duo told us that the diamonds were given to one Rakesh Verma, who is an Uttar Pradesh native, and one other person, said an officer. The police refused to divulge the identity of the fourth accused as he is yet to be arrested while the three others were arrested over the past two weeks. “The arrested accused have said that they threw the stolen DVR in a nullah in Nalasopara,” said senior inspector Suryakant Bangar. The DVR is yet to be recovered, said another source. “We have also found that Singh and Sahani have a criminal past and have cases registered against them with the city crime branch, Thane police, Ambernath police and Hyderabad police. They have been arrested in the past too,” said the source.

 

 

3 Rail Staff Die as Howrah Train ram’s upkeep Car

The engine of Howrah-Jagdalpur Samaleswari Express on fire after the accident in Rayagada district of Odisha.

 

 

Koraput: Three railway employees, including a senior section engineer (electrical), were killed after the 18005 Howrah-Jagdalpur Samaleswari Express hit a tower car engaged in inspecting the route between Keutguda and Singapur Road stations in Odisha’s Rayagada district on Tuesday. The victims have been identified as senior section engineer Sagar and technicians Gouri Naidu and M Suresh. All three belonged to the Rayagada railway jurisdiction and were in the tower car, said officials. All 148 passengers on the train were unhurt. The railways suspended on-duty station masters of Keutguda, Singapur Road and Singapur Road Cabin, and ordered an inquiry into the accident. The probe will be conducted by the commissioner of railway safety, an independent statutory authority under the civil aviation ministry. “Three of our staff died in the accident but no passenger of the express train has been affected. The accident is being treated most seriously and the reason behind it will be known once the investigation report is made available,” said Jyoti Prakash Mishra, chief public relations officer, East Coast Railways. Officials said the accident took place at 4.30pm after the train hit the tower car. Samaleswari Express’ engine caught fire while its guard-cum-luggage van and a general second-class coach derailed.


News Flash – 25 June 2019

National News

 

 

Family Robbed, Woman Thrashed for Resisting

 

 

New Delhi: A family of three returning home on their mini scooter was attacked by robbers armed with knives on the old iron bridge early Saturday morning. Police said Sachin Kumar Bansal (38) was returning home from Shahdara along with his wife and five-year-old daughter. At 12.20am, when they had barely covered 100 metres of the bridge, two men on a motorcycle came from behind and forced them to stop. “The men signaled us to stop. The one riding the bike was carrying a long knife. He snatched my mobile phone and wallet,” Bansal told cops. The other robber attacked Bansal’s wife and demanded that she hand over all her jewellery. She resisted. So the man slapped her multiple times and forcibly took off her bangles and chain. Fortunately, a few vehicles slowed down when they saw the robbery. This forced the robbers to give up and return to their bike.

 

 

But while turning back, the duo kicked and abused the woman even as her daughter helplessly watched on. Bansal later called up the police. The family was taken to the Kotwali police station where they recorded their statements. Bansal gave an account of the items that were taken away from them Rs. 11,000 cash, mobile phones and other documents apart from the woman’s jewellery. A case under sections of robbery was registered based on the statement. The investigating teams are now scanning CCTV footage from around the bridge to zero down on the suspects and the vehicle that was used to commit the crime. Teams are also checking the dossiers of local criminals who could be behind the incident and the informer network has been activated as well.

 

 

Metro Stations Cry for more Passenger Security

Thousand Lights Metro.

 

 

Chennai: While the patronage at metro stations has gone up by nearly 42% since the 45km phase-1 network became operational this February, the modern transit facility lacks in measures to ensure passenger safety. Commuters are concerned that their safety is at risk, as many stations either do not have enough security personnel or the existing staff are negligent at work. Regular commuters complain that even stations like Vadapalani, which is located on the bustling 100 feet road and is busy through the train operational hours, security checks are not strictly followed. “The baggage scanner staff is not present to watch the screens when the baggage is scanned. They are not there particularly during early morning hours at around 5am when the train operations begin. Passengers are also not frisked in some stations,” said S Sundar, a regular commuter from Vadapalani. According to CMRL, Vadapalani caters to an average 3500 commuters a day. “During afternoon hours when the footfall is low, commuters are not frisked and are simply allowed to walk in. This is a real cause for concern as it can make the metro stations an easy target for anti-social elements,” said Selvakumar, a regular commuter at Shenoy Nagar station. CMRL has employed outsourced staff for operation of stations, which include baggage checks and frisking of passengers.

 

 

After the last leg of phase-1 from Washermenpet to AG DMS, which provides the much-needed shortest link between Central and Airport via the arterial Anna Salai patronage in metro stations went up from an average 19.36 lakh in January to 23.62 lakh in February. On April 26, the daily patronage touched one lakh. At present, CMRL has adopted various safety measures including installation of CCTV cameras, armed police personnel at entry points in some stations, and platform staff, who does a quick scan in the trains to check for abandoned items However security measures adopted by CMRL are not enough to monitor and ensure safety of the rising number of passengers. For instance, CCTV cameras do not cover every nook and corner of stations like LIC and Thousand Lights that have long winding passage from the street level to the ticketing level. A city police team that investigated a case of chain snatching at Central metro recently said that the entry point, through which the offender exited, did not have a camera. “We have started installing more cameras in all the stations,” a metro rail official said. Armed personnel from the Tamil Nadu police, who stand guard at the entry points of stations opened earlier, they are absent in the stations between Washermenpet and AG-DMS, which was opened in February 2019.

 

 

Robber Fails to Snatch Woman’s Chain, Kicks Her

ATROCIOUS: A video grab of the incident.

 

 

Chennai: In a shocking incident, a man riding pillion failed to snatch a gold chain from a woman walking in Kotturpuram on Sunday morning and then kicked her viciously in the chest before fleeing. A total of 10 women lost gold chains in different incidents in city since Sunday, police said. Selvi of Erikkarai in Kotturpuram was returning home from a wedding when two men on a bike rode close and the man in the back tried to grab her chain. She held on to it and the man fell down. He then planted a kick in her chest. Selvi said she could identify the suspect as the pillion rider did not wear a helmet. “It is scary even to walk on the road even during the day,” she said. On Sunday evening, Triplicane resident Sudah Devi, an employee of Indian Oil Corporation, was returning home from the Parthasarathy temple when a bike borne duo approached her seeking directions. Suddenly, they snatched her five-sovereign chain and fled.

 

 

The same evening, 65-year-old Shantha of Mylapore was relieved of her one sovereign chain when she was returning home from Mundakakanni Amman temple. In Neelamangai Nagar at Adambakkam, Muthulakshmi was on a stroll when two men snatched her five sovereign gold chain, while Karpagakanni, 28, was walking on 100 Feet Road (JN Salai), when two bike borne men snatched her six sovereign gold chain and escaped. At Perumbakkam, Balammal, 75, was relieved of her 3.5 sovereign gold chain. In an incident at Seethammal colony, Teynampet, which was caught on a CCTV camera, a woman wearing blue salwar was relieved of her gold chain. But, she did not file a police complaint. In Egmore, Mary, 65, had her two sovereign gold chain snatched, and in Royapettah, to men on a bike tried to snatch a chain from Jayalakshmi, 44, but failed.


News Flash – 24 June 2019

National News

 

 

Two Russians held for withdrawing Rs.50,000 with Cloned ATM card

 

 

Mumbai: Two Russians were arrested recently for allegedly withdrawing Rs 50,000 from the bank account of a Khar resident even as his bank ATM card was in his possession. The money was withdrawn using the 40-year-old account holder’s cloned card in March. Officials of Khar police station learnt that the two men—Pethyu George Jiji (51) and Nedesco Yaun Yanoon (36)—who stole the money are the same who had been caught by Bandra police station officials on May 29 for allegedly fitting a skimmer and hidden camera at the bank’s ATM kiosk on Water Field Road in Bandra. The two Russian nationals are in police custody as they are suspected to have stolen many cardholders’ details over the last four months by fitting skimmers at ATMs. The Khar resident learnt about the fraud at midnight on March 2 after he got a series of transaction alerts on his phone about money being withdrawn from his salary account. During the probe the duo was arrested after the Khar police station got their custody from Bandra on June 19.

 

 

Eye in Sky: Delhi Starts Installing CCTV’s

KICK-OFF: Manish Sisodia himself installed a couple of cameras in Patparganj, his assembly constituency.

 

 

New Delhi: The Aam Aadmi Party government’s flagship scheme of installing 1.4 lakh closed-circuit television cameras in public places was formally launched on Sunday by deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia who himself installed a couple of cameras in Patparganj, his assembly constituency. Dozens of CCTV cameras have already been installed in different parts of the city. “This is a historic project with regard to women’s safety. A big dream of the people has been fulfilled. Women’s security and law and order may not be under the Delhi government, but we are doing everything within our power to provide it to women,” Sisodia said. The deputy chief minister said, “Delhi Police may not be with us, but rest assured that Delhi government’s cameras will keep an eye out for you in all corners of the city. No miscreant, chain snatcher or harasser will be able to escape surveillance. All that women now have to do is describe the attacker and we’ll find the culprit in no time with the help of the video footage. The cameras will come as a huge relief for our daughters, sisters and mothers who are afraid to step out after dark for fear of harassment and assault”. Installation of 2,000 CCTV cameras in each of the 70 assembly constituencies was one of the key promises made by the Aam Aadmi Party before the 2015 assembly elections. The project was delayed due to a prolonged tussle between the lieutenant governor (LG) and Delhi government. This was one of the main reasons for chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and three of his cabinet colleagues to stage a Dharna inside LG House last year. The cameras were installed after MLAs consulted various Residents’ Welfare Associations (RWA) to determine the spots for optimum surveillance and benefits.

 

 

Public consultation is over in several parts of the assembly constituencies paving the way for installation of the cameras. Since the execution of the project has already been delayed, the AAP government doesn’t want to waste any more time and has directed the authorities to finish installation of all 1.4 lakh cameras within three months. Completion of the work will boost the confidence of AAP when it goes to the people seeking votes for the state assembly elections due early next year. In the recently concluded Lok Sabha election, the opposition parties had used the absence of cameras to target AAP. The state government has planned to install 1.5 lakh more cameras in the second phase of the project, which will be in addition to those being installed in government schools. “The tendering process has started for the second phase,” Sisodia added. Keeping in view incidents of power cables being cut off by miscreants, the government has decided to install cameras that run on Wi-Fi, making the system tamperproof. Live feed and footage up to 20 days will be provided to RWA members, the station house officer (SHO) of the local police station and a central control room at PWD headquarters. RWA members can track the feeds on their mobile phones even for issues like damage to vehicles. “Every SHO will get access to video feeds on their mobile phone from areas under their jurisdiction. Policemen will no more need to run around looking for footage, which usually delays investigations. The PWD headquarters will have access to every single feed across the city to ensure there is no tampering,” said the deputy chief minister, adding that the CCTV cameras will not just be installed in colonies and housing societies, but also in slums.

 

 

14 Dead, 50 Injured as Storm Blows Down Tent in Barmer

DOUBLE TROUBLE: Strong winds not only brought down the 50-foot-tall pandal but also the sagging power cables, leading to electrocution and stampede, consecutively.

 

 

Jaisalmer/Jaipur: At least 14 people were killed and over 50 others injured after strong winds and rain brought down the “Pandal” (tent) at a religious congregation in Barmer on Sunday afternoon. Most of the victims are believed to have died due to electrocution when the sagging power cables fell to the drenched ground, triggering a stampede. The victims, including children and elderly men and women, had gathered in Jasol to listen to “Ram Katha” by Murlidhar Maharaj when the tragedy struck. Most of the bodies brought to a local hospital had their mouths open, indicating electrocution. However, the local administration said only post-mortem reports would reveal the causes of death. Locals at Jasol town claimed they had seen heavy winds uprooting the 50-foothigh pandal, burying devotes under a heap of iron poles holding up the makeshift shed. The entire floor, which just a couple of minutes before had an air of celebration, erupted in pandemonium. Many elderly devotees and some children could not escape and were said to have died on the spot due to the electric current passing across the rain-drenched ground.

 

 

“The entire ground was filled with mud due to heavy rain and the electric current quickly swept through the area due to which we could not easily rescue people stranded inside the mangled pandal,” a local said, adding that the electric current had initially stalled the rescue operation. Over 700 devotees had gathered under the tent on the second day of the “Ram Katha” when the tragedy occurred. Murlidhar Maharaj, who was singing a bhajan from the podium, stopped midway and screamed, “Pandal ud raha hai (The pandal is beng blown away) ”. The entire Ram Katha was broadcast live on You Tube. Officials said Murlidhar Maharaj had escaped unscathed but was still admitted to a hospital. Speaking to TOI, district collector Himashu Gupta said the “Ram Katha” had been organized near Mata Bhatiyani Rai temple in Jasol town. “Some of the injured have been shifted to Jodhpur, others are undergoing treatment in hospitals at the Balotra and Barmer district headquarters,” he said. An ex gratia amount of Rs.5 lakhs for the next of kin of each dead person and Rs.2 lakhs for each injured person was announced. The CM is expected to visit Barmer on Monday.


News Flash – 21 June 2019

National News

 

 

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Satara Region

 

 

Pune: Parts of the Satara region recorded their first earthquake of a magnitude greater than 4.5 on the Richter scale in over seven years. This was followed by an aftershock around 7.47am on Thursday. While the earthquake was of 4.8 magnitude, the aftershock was of magnitude 3. However, no loss of life or property has been reported. The earthquake occurred around 20km from the Koyna dam in Satara, India Meteorological Department (IMD) officials told TOI. The depth of the first shock was 10 km below the earth’s surface. Officials said this was the first earthquake of such magnitude to have occurred in this part of Satara in some years. In the past seven years, earthquakes of magnitude between 1 and 4.5 have been recorded in this region. The epicenter was considerably distant from the Koyna dam, which is usually a hotspot for earthquakes. This was also the first quake in Satara in 2019. As per IMD, the coordinates for the quake are 17.3°N 73.8°E. Since the beginning of 2019, Palghar has been the only location in the state affected by a series of earthquakes. Officials from the IMD’S seismology department said the aftershock, which originated at a depth of 5km below the earth’s surface, was felt around 8.27am. “The aftershock was relatively shallow. Data over the past few years has shown that though one earthquake on an average affects this location each year, quakes with a magnitude of 4 or more are less common here,” an official said.

 

 

In 2012, the location had recorded an earthquake of 4.9 magnitude. In 2013, 2015 and 2016, no earthquakes were recorded in this region. Also, in the past seven years, the epicenter has remained almost the same, IMD officials said. “Earthquakes between 1 and 5 magnitudes are termed light, while those from 5.1 to 6.9 magnitude are termed moderate. Thursday’s tremor was a light one. Preliminary investigations revealed that the quake could have occurred due to a fault line in the tectonic plates in the crust. The fault line in question could have been the one extending from the Koyna region or one that has developed somewhere in this region itself where the tremors were felt,” the official said. The official said that as tectonic plates shift constantly, the stress build-up can increase at times, activating a fault line. This can cause tremors in a region. As per theory, the Indo-Australian Plate a major tectonic plate that includes the continent of Australia and surrounding ocean, extending northwest to include the Indian subcontinent and adjacent waters is constantly in motion. The average speed at which this plate moves is 4.8cm to 5.2cm annually though the velocity is not uniform, an IMD official said. Meanwhile, an official from the Satara disaster management authority said that the Koynanagar observatory scaled Thursday’s earthquake at 3.7 magnitude. “Also, as per our observations, the epicenter was not in Satara, but in Devrukh village in Sangameshwar taluka of Ratnagiri district,” he added.

 

 

Firemen Save 100 lives from Blaze in Pitampura Building

 

New Delhi: For the second time in the past two days, firefighters saved the lives of around 100 people and a pet dog after a major fire broke out in a residential society in northwest Delhi’s Pitampura early on Thursday. Chief fire officer of Delhi Fire Service, Atul Garg, said they were informed about the incident at 1.10am from Tower Heights Apartments in QD-Block, Pitampura. When the firemen reached there, they noticed smoke and fire billowing out from the fifth floor of the 10-storey building. People on the top floors were trapped. The intensity of the fire was raised to Make 6 category from Make 4 and additional fire tenders and Bronto cranes were sent to the spot. Avtar Singh, a DFS officer, said the fire had started in a flat on the fifth floor. However, smoke had engulfed the entire passageway and the staircase, blocking the escape route. “People had panicked and gone to the terrace. We went in and started bringing down women and children one by one. We assured the people on the terrace that things were under control before bringing them down,” Singh said. The fire safety equipment of the society was found defunct, which prolonged the rescue operation.

 

 

By 3.15am, the blaze was brought under control. Most of the residents had also been rescued by then. The fire was completely doused by 3.20am and the cooling operation continued till dawn. A probe has revealed that the fire started after an air conditioner in a flat malfunctioned. The blaze quickly spread through the woodwork. Later, firemen went up with the help of the Bronto cranes and scanned the entire building to check if anyone was still trapped. All 100 residents were accounted for. The firemen also played hero to a puppy who was trapped in the flat. They broke open the doors and safely rescued the canine. A woman survivor said they were lucky that the fire was noticed in time by a few residents. “When the smoke started to come out of the flat, some people out for a walk raised an alarm. They and the security guards then started ringing the doorbells of all the flats to alert the occupants about the fire,” she added.

 

 

CCTV Cameras Help Locals nab Thief

 

 

Chennai: Residents of Vysarpadi nabbed a thief on Thursday with the help of CCTV camera footage. Police said after a spike in burglaries, residents decided to form groups of youths to monitor houses. They also installed CCTV cameras across the locality. On Wednesday night, a house at BV Colony was burgled. After the incident came to light, the residents checked CCTV camera footage and found a man entering the house. The procured an image from the footage and tracked him to a rented house at MKB Nagar. The man, identified as Sahul, 20, was then handed over to the police. Police found 10 phones and jewellery in his possession. The ornaments however were ‘imitation’ jewellery. Police said Sahul had rented the house to target houses whose owners had gone on a vacation.


News Flash – 20 June 2019

National News

 

 

Fireman Falls while Fighting Blaze at Powai Mall, Critical

A video grab of the fire at Haiko Mall; (inset) Fireman Devendra Koradkar who was injured.

 

 

Mumbai: A fire broke out at Haiko Mall at Hiranandani Gardens in Powai on Wednesday morning and left some fire brigade personnel critically injured. Fireman Devendra Koradkar was putting out the fire on the mall’s second floor when an acrylic sheet under him gave way and he fell down. No one else was injured and the fire was doused. Fire brigade officials said that a food stall inside the complex, where the fire is suspected to have started, was operating without permissions. They have asked the police to book the stall’s owner as well as the mall’s manager for negligence. Locals, who were at the mall when the fire broke out, told the police that the blaze started most likely somewhere on the first floor, above the Haiko supermarket. The fire broke out around 10am, and the mall was evacuated soon after, said an officer. After fire engines reached the spot, fire personnel entered the mall to release the pressure inside and allow ventilation so that the fire could be put out. “Koradkar was on the second floor helping a fellow fireman when he fell two floors down and sustained severe injuries,” said the officer, adding that he was immediately rushed to a hospital. Koradkar was operated on for his injuries.

 

 

Chief fire officer P S Rahangdale said: “Prima facie, it appears that the fire originated at the food stall when food was being prepared with the help of electrical appliances. The stall did not have permissions to do so. The fire spread quickly due to the carbon soot that was accumulated in the non-maintained chimney. We have got the electricity and water supply to the mall disconnected. We have also asked the police to lodge an FIR against the food stall owner and the manager of the mall”. A local said that though the fire was contained in the morning itself, people were not allowed inside the mall till late in the evening. An eatery and music store next door were also cordoned off after the incident. “There is a small restaurant and several shops selling apparel and artefacts on level one of the complex. We are not sure if all these shopping units and restaurants have individual permissions from the BMC, or if the shopping complex has a collective municipal license and fire no-objection certificate. Either way, the fire brigade must inquire if the mall has safety equipment or not,” said a Powai resident.

 

 

As Fire Rages, Seven Trapped in Building Rescued after an Hour

 

New Delhi: A major fire tragedy was averted when seven people, including six women and a child, were rescued from a building in southeast Delhi’s Abul Fazal Enclave on Wednesday morning. Atul Garg, chief fire officer, Delhi Fire Service, said the incident was reported at 3.22am and four fire tenders were pressed into service. All the seven trapped inside the building were rescued after an hour’s operation, he said. Though a formal incident report was yet to be compiled, a preliminary probe revealed that the probable cause of fire was a short circuit in the electricity circuit board installed on the ground floor. The flames travelled through the wires and spread to the vehicles parked by the occupants of the six storey residential building. At the time of the incident, there were three cars, four motorcycles and two Scooty’s parked all of which caught fire. As the fire spread, the occupants tried to rush out but found the staircase covered in smoke. To save themselves, the women and the child ran to the upper floor and cried for help following which locals gathered and tried to douse the flames, but to no avail.

 

 

Assistant divisional fire officer, Mahmood, who led the rescue operation, said the first fire tender reached the spot in three minutes from Sarita Vihar fire station. Another one was called from Mathura Road station. “The rescue operation started at 3.30am, by which time the smoke had already engulfed four floors. The women climbed to the fifth one to save themselves. We first started containing the fire and then moved in to rescue them,” Mahmood said. After the blaze was brought under control, the firemen used their ladders to reach the trapped victims and brought them out to safety. All the seven suffered no serious injuries and were administered first aid on the spot. However, by the time the fire was doused, all the parked vehicles and the first floor of the building were charred. The cops from the local police station were also present at the scene to support the rescue operation. They later took the statement of the victims to initiate the investigation. A team of forensic experts visited the spot and collected samples to ascertain the cause of fire.

 

 

Government to Install 10, not 4, Panic Buttons in Buses

CONFIDENCE BUILDING: The Delhi cabinet had approved the installation of CCTV cameras and panic buttons in DTC and cluster scheme buses in July 2017.

 

 

New Delhi: To make Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) and Cluster Scheme buses safer for women, Delhi government has planned to install 10 panic buttons in each bus, instead of four panic buttons decided earlier, sources said. “Earlier, we had decided to install four panic buttons and three CCTV camera in each bus but now it has been decided that there would be five buttons each on both sides of a bus,” a senior transport department official said. “The panic buttons and the live feed from the CCTV cameras would be linked to a central control room in the transport department office. As soon as a passenger would press a panic button, an alert would be raised at the control room and also at the DTC depot manager’s office,” he said. “In case of an emergency, police would also be alerted immediately. Two-way communication with the driver would also be possible from the control room,” he said. The official said that tenders for installation of CCTV cameras and panic buttons in buses would be issued again soon, as earlier tenders did not elicit good response.

 

 

The Delhi cabinet had approved the installation of CCTV cameras and panic buttons in buses in July 2017 but the tender for these were finally floated in November 2018. “There were only two firms that had responded to the tender. One of them had applied after the last date and was technically disqualified. That left only one bidder. That is why the tender has to be floated again,” another official said. The installation of CCTV cameras in public transport buses has been a key poll promise of the Aam Aadmi Party. In his first budget speech as finance minister for the financial year 2015-16, deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia had proposed installation of CCTV cameras in all DTC and cluster buses in the national capital. DTC and cluster buses are expected to get state-of-the-art internet protocol CCTV cameras and each bus will have three such cameras. Their installation and maintenance will be for five years. A screen will telecast the output from the cameras. “The moment a panic button is pressed, live streaming will start,” the official said.