News Flash – 06 May 2019

National News



3 Hurt in LPG Cylinder Explosion in Versova Building

The explosion and fire damaged two flats on the 4th floor of Kavita building.



Mumbai: Three people, including a senior citizen, were injured after an LPG cylinder explosion led to a fire on the fourth floor of a Versova building on Sunday morning. Fire department personnel said the LPG cylinder explosion occurred either in flat no. 403 or 404, both of which are badly damaged, at Kavita building on Yari Road at 11.15am. Even as quick-thinking society committee members rushed to evacuate the top and bottom floors, there was a second explosion at 11.30am, which caused further destruction of property. Officials are yet to ascertain what caused the second blast. Residents said as the ambulance took 50 minutes to arrive, they rushed the three injured to R N Cooper Hospital in private cars. While Deep Desai (35), who was in flat no. 404, suffered 35% burns, Amandeep Pal (27), a production manager living in flat no. 403, had a minor leg injury and was given first aid on the spot. Neelima Ravan, a 60-year-old bystander, suffered head injury possibly due to shattered glass from windowpanes. Desai was later moved to Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, said doctors. The fire was doused by 11.52am, said sources. Flat no. 404 is occupied by Manisha Raj and her two sons. As she had to go to her hometown, she had asked her brother Desai to take care of her sons and her nephew, who was living with them. Since the last 10 days, Desai, who runs an import-export business, was living in her flat.



On Sunday, the four were asleep in the house with their two dogs, when they heard the explosion. Desai suffered superficial burns on his hands and legs, besides burning his lip and a portion of his head. Pal lives next door in flat no. 403 on rent along with brothers Shubham Gaur (31), a casting director, and Shaleen (29), an assistant director with a British production company. “The explosion may have happened in Pal’s room but we are not sure as we were asleep,” said Shubham. The blast ripped through the wall between the bedroom where Desai was sleeping and Pal’s room, and wrecked windows of the flats on the floors above and below. “We have been living as roommates in Mumbai for the past decade and had shifted into Kavita building in October 2018. Now, we have no place to live as the house will have to be renovated,” Shubham added. Their landlady is based abroad. Fire department officials said the fire was confined to the electric wiring and electric installation, furniture, television sets, wooden beds, curtains, doors, windows, LPG cylinders and household articles in the two flats. When TOI visited the building, some residents were seen carting away their belongings as their flats too had been affected due to the LPG cylinder blast.



25 drains fitted with sensors to alert BBMP about flooding

TROUBLE ZONES: The authorities have identified vulnerable areas in the city.



Bengaluru: Imagine BBMP officials getting alerts about impending flooding in residential areas or traffic cops receiving information on a junction about to be waterlogged. Such alerts, which could go a long way in evacuating residents from vulnerable areas or diverting traffic to save commuters from getting stuck in endless snarls, are set to be a reality in Bengaluru during the upcoming monsoon. The Karnataka State Natural Disaster Management Centre (KSNDMC) is installing water-level sensors in 25 select storm water drain stretches in the city. As soon as rainwater crosses the critical point in drains, alerts will be sent to the data centre. Accordingly, designated officials will swing into damage control operation. One vulnerable point is Silk Board Junction which is known not only for traffic jams and air pollution, but also flooding. Even a short spell of rain would leave motorists stranded. Similar is the case of Gali Anjaneya Temple on Mysuru Road where devotees often complain about muddy water entering the premises. Twenty-five such storm water drain stretches prone to flooding are getting sensors so that prompt action could be taken to mitigate disasters. Shubha Avinash, scientific officer (Hydrology), KSNDMC, told TOI that they are working with BBMP officials on the project and installation of sensors will be over by May-end. “Areas in Jayanagar, Byrasandra and Bommanahalli have been identified. Similar points are along the Hebbal valley, Koramangala-Challaghatta valley and Vrishabhavati valley,” she added.



Shubha said under the first phase, alerts will be sent to registered officials and control rooms of three departments — BBMP, traffic police and fire department — which can address rain-related damages. “In the next phase, we’re planning to develop an app through which citizens will get alerts about flooding in their area so that they can be better prepared,” she added. Though KSNDMC and IISc scientists had installed seven water-level sensors at vulnerable points last year, the result wasn’t satisfactory. “We’ve made necessary corrections to get accurate results. Even now, rain gauges installed at different parts do send alerts about excess rain, giving indications about possible flooding in certain areas. Sensor system is a step ahead to ensure more accuracy,” said a scientist. TIMES VIEW: For most Bengalureans, monsoon is synonymous with misery. Inept local authorities have contributed to that, turning the hi-tech city into an urban mess. That the city’s crumbling infrastructure doesn’t have the capacity to withstand a downpour is no secret. If BBMP’s promises about this year’s monsoon preparedness are any indication, it seems to have learnt lessons from its past follies. Timely alerts about flooding can go a long way in saving many lives and properties. Short-sighted planning is the root cause of much of destruction during natural calamities; the civic agency can no longer shy away from using technology to reduce their impact.



FANI Toll goes up to 38 in Odisha, Rs. 1,200cr worth of Power Infra lost

A woman makes her way through the rubble in Puri on Sunday.



Bhubaneswar: Two days after Cyclone Fani ravaged parts of coastal Odisha, the state on Sunday revised its death count upward to 38 — 25 died in Puri district alone — including an 18-month-old child, who was blown away by strong winds and thrown in a pond. The state is still trying to figure out the extent of damage caused by the cyclone, though government sources said more than Rs 1,200 crore worth of power infrastructure was destroyed. More than 1 crore people living in 14,835 villages and 46 towns across the districts of Puri, Khurda, Balasore, Bhadrak, Cuttack, Dhenkanal, Ganjam, Jagatsinghpur, Jajpur, Kendrapara and Mayurbhanj were affected by Fani, special relief commissioner Bishnupada Sethi said in a report. All telecom channels are down in Puri district while in Bhubaneswar, services have been intermittent at best. Over 35 lakh people, mainly in Puri and Khurda districts, remain in darkness for a third day with the state government hoping to restore power to installations such as Capital Hospital and Biju Patnaik International Airport by Monday morning. The government is also working overtime to establish road connectivity with Puri, where the cyclone made landfall on Friday.



Brajabandhu Dash, superintendent of Puri District Headquarters Hospital, said 25 bodies were brought to the hospital. Most of the people were killed due to roof and wall collapse or by falling branches. Hospital sources said most deaths occurred when the victims ventured out after the cyclone hit land. While major roads have been cleared of uprooted trees and fallen electric poles, roads to around 800 villages in Puri are yet to be restored. “Rescue personnel are working round-the-clock to establish road connectivity for around five lakh people in these villages to ensure smooth relief operation,” Puri district collector Jyotiprakash Das said. The special circuit house in Puri as well as offices and residences of the superintendent of police and collector have been damaged, the SRC report stated. Additional chief secretary Suresh Chandra Mohapatra is stationed in Puri to oversee relief and restoration. Chief minister Naveen Patnaik on Sunday announced a relief package, promising Rs 95,100 aid for families whose houses have been completely damaged. The assistance was as per the amount specified in the relief code, he said.



PNB Pudukottai Branch claims 13kg Gold Stolen



Trichy: Officials of the Punjab National Bank branch at Pudukottai have filed a police complaint claiming that 13.75kg gold jewellery mortgaged by customers has gone missing from the branch. The bank suspects the involvement of M Marimuthu, the office assistant who was found dead a couple of days ago, in the incident. Pudukottai town police have filed an FIR under IPC Section 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant, or by banker, merchant or agent) against Marimuthu, based on the complaint received from the bank’s senior manager Maris Kannan. According to police sources, the bank stated in its complaint that gold jewellery pledged by 141 of its 600 customers was missing from the lockers. These were mortgaged by the customers against gold loan. However, police said that the bank officials could not explain how Marimuthu gained access to the lockers. There was speculation over missing gold jewellery from the bank as official teams from the PNB branches in Trichy and Coimbatore had come for verification. As the news of possible theft of gold jewellery from the bank spread among customers, they started thronging the branch a couple of days ago. The bank had managed to convince customers that their gold was safe, but on Saturday night it filed the complaint of missing gold from the lockers. The police are yet to make any headway in the death of Marimuthu, who went missing on April 22. His body was found on May 3 along the Manamelkudi coastline. The car he owned was found gutted a few days after he went missing.



International News



Russian plane makes fiery emergency landing, 13 Dead

The flight by Aeroflot took off from Moscow bound for Murmansk, a port city in Russia. The pilots radioed a distress call immediately after takeoff, Interfax reported, and the plane circled back for an emergency landing. The plane had been carrying 78 passengers.



Moscow: A Russian-made Sukhoi passenger jet made an emergency landing on Sunday, trailing a gigantic plume of flame and black smoke and skidding to a stop on fire and with only its nose wheel in view of passengers waiting to board flights at Moscow’s main airport. The fiery landing killed 13 people, according to Tass, a Russian state news agency. “Amazing,” one man can be heard saying on one of many videos filmed from inside Sheremetyevo airport and posted on social media. RIA, another state news agency, initially reported that all 78 passengers evacuated on escape slides, with six people injured. Interfax, another Russian news agency, reported 10 injuries. The reports of deaths began to emerge later. Videos showed passengers running over the tarmac, away from the burning plane. The flight by Aeroflot, the Russian national airline, took off from Moscow bound for Murmansk, a port city in Russia. The pilots radioed a distress call immediately after takeoff, Interfax reported, and the plane circled back for an emergency landing. Flightradar24, a site that tracks transponders on airplanes, showed the jet looping once in the air before landing. Russian news agencies said the pilots landed on their second attempt.



Interfax said the cockpit crew stopped responding by radio after reporting the emergency. It was not clear whether the plane caught fire in the air or while landing. Videos showed the plane skidding along the runway with its nose angled upward, the engines scraping the ground and flames streaking out behind. Later scenes showed flames spreading on the pavement, suggesting that fuel was leaking and burning. Fire crews sprayed the plane from trucks. Safety concerns with the Sukhoi Superjet, Russia’s first newly designed post-Soviet passenger plane, emerged soon after its introduction in 2008. Dozens of employees at the Siberia plant were found to have faked their university engineering diplomas. In 2012, a Superjet crashed into a mountain in Indonesia during a sales demonstration flight carrying 37 aviation executives and journalists, and eight crew members, killing all aboard. An investigation cited pilot error. In 2016, Russian safety regulators grounded the fleet after discovering metal fatigue, usually a problem associated with older airplanes, in the tail section of a Sukhoi jet. Russian aviation officials have said the plane had no more than the typical teething problems of a new aircraft.

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