News Flash – 1 October 2018

National News



Killer roads in India claim lives of 56 pedestrians a day


New Delhi: Indian roads are turning deadlier for pedestrians. Government data shows the number of fatalities shooting up from 12,330 in 2014 to 20,457 in 2017—a jump of nearly 66%. It translates to 56 pedestrians dying daily last year, despite policy makers and authorities talking about prioritising pedestrian safety. Pedestrians are the most vulnerable road users as they have no protection in case of an accident. Cyclists and two-wheeler occupants also fall in this category. According to official data, 133 two-wheeler occupants and nearly 10 cyclists were killed daily in road accidents in 2017. Tamil Nadu reported a maximum number of 3,507 pedestrians killed in road accidents last year, followed by Maharashtra (1,831) and Andhra Pradesh (1,379). Similarly, in the case of two-wheeler deaths, Tamil Nadu topped the list with 6,329 fatalities followed by 5,699 in Uttar Pradesh and 4,659 in Maharashtra. In total, the three categories of victims had more than half of the share of all road deaths across the country in 2017. Union road transport secretary Y S Malik recently lamented about how motorists in India, unlike those in developed countries, have little respect for the rights of pedestrians. Designated footpaths are routinely encroached upon by parked vehicles and shops, especially in urban areas, forcing pedestrians to walk on roads. “There is a dire need to segregate pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists from other vehicles to reduce conflict,” said K K Kapila of the International Road Federation.



Engine fails at 36,000ft, flight lands safely



New Delhi: One of the two engines of a Jet Airways aircraft, operating on the Hyderabad-Indore sector with over 100 people on board on Sunday, reportedly failed while cruising at 36,000 feet. However, the aircraft landed at its destination safely. Twin engine aircraft like the Boeing 737 and Airbus A-320 can land safely on a single engine. A Jet spokesperson said its “flight 9W 955, Hyderabad to Indore of September 30, 2018, made an emergency landing at Indore. The Boeing 737 aircraft with 96 guests and seven crew landed safely and all were successfully deplaned. The airline has informed authorities of the event and Jet Airways’ engineering teams are inspecting the aircraft”. According to flight monitoring sites tracking 9W 955, the B-737 was cruising at an altitude of almost 11km at a speed of about 850 mph when the engine trouble happened midway on the flight. Powered by the other working engine, the B-737 then descended and slowed down on its way to make an emergency landing at Indore. The flight, which had taken off from Hyderabad at 10.48am, landed in Indore at 12.10pm.



Starting today, all RTO’s to go online



New Delhi: All 13 Regional Transport Offices (RTOs) in the city will become ‘e-RTOs’ from Monday. Most of the transport services — from getting a driving licence to transferring a registration certificate — will all be available online, and if someone still has to visit the office, online appointments have to be taken first. The move would help curb overcrowding and touts at RTOs, a transport department official said. “People will be given time slots during which they can visit the office. This will stagger work load at RTOs and reduce overcrowding. We are expecting teething troubles and technical glitches in the first week. However, we are prepared to streamline the process and the system will be stabilised within a week,” the official said. Apart from Mall Road, online services are currently available at three other offices – Janakpuri, Vasant Vihar and Indraprastha. From Monday, however, they will be available at all RTOs. Services like learners’ and permanent driving licenses, renewal and duplicate driving licence, change of address in the licence, change of address and duplicate registration certificate, transfer of vehicle ownership, issuance of NOC and hypothecation addition and termination, can all be availed online.


For those who either don’t have access to internet, or are not comfortable transacting online, the department would provide help desks at all RTOs. The desk, which would be put near the entry points, would be manned by trained personnel of the Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System (DIMTS) and charge Rs 60 for filling and completing the forms. The department is also going to start a token-based system soon, beginning with the Mall Road RTO. A token vending machine has already been installed at the Mall Road office and is being linked with LED screens installed at the waiting halls inside. “When the token system starts, priority will be given to women, senior citizen and the differently-abled,” he said. In 2017, RTOs managed traffic of over seven lakh vehicles and over 10 lakh people, who visited the office to get driving licenses or other related work. “More than five lakh learners’ and nearly 2.5 lakh permanent learning driving licenses were issued last year. Apart from this, lakhs of people visit our offices every year for different works such as RC transfer, fitness certificates or permits,” the official said.



Alert cops nab pickpocket, recover 23 mobile phones



Bengaluru: A 40-year-old mobile phone thief was caught by constables on Friday evening from Yelahanka bus stop. Police said they recovered 23 mobile phones worth Rs 2 lakh from the accused, K Lakshman, from Rangareddy district, Telangana. Lakshman came to the city a week ago and snatched mobile phones from bus passengers and crowded bus stops. Yelahanka police had set up a team under head constable Ravi to keep a watch on pickpockets on Friday evening. When the policemen noticed Lakshman trying to escape on seeing them, they chased and caught him. Police found 23 mobile phones in his bag. When Lakshman failed to give a convincing explanation about the phones in his possession, the policemen took him to the station and registered a case against him. Lakshman confessed he had stolen the mobile phones from passengers in crowded buses and bus stops. “We will unlock those mobiles and contact the owners to return them,” police said.



500 men work all night to bring Trains back on tracks


Kolkata: It was a mammoth task for the public works department, the railways and CESC to remove utilities on a 342ft stretch on both sides of Majerhat bridge on Saturday night. Around 500 men worked throughout the night to ensure that train movement through Majerhat could turn normal from Sunday evening. The almost 18-hour traffic and power block between Ballygunge and Budge Budge stations on Saturday night was also used by the state agencies and railways to make way for the demolition of portions of the bridge. Railway tower wagons rolled in exactly at 10.10pm on Saturday night and started working on the overhead traction lines. Half a dozen cranes had crawled up Majerhat bridge by that time. Railway engineers and workers climbed the folded ladders mounted on the tower wagons to work on the power cables. Two 140-tonne cranes and three tower wagons were also brought in to support the night-long operation. By 11pm, the railway inspection vans gave the first signal to around 100 workers and engineers on the Majerhat road over bridge. As the wagons moved away, CESC and PWD workers started working on the now defunct pipelines laid by the Greater Calcutta Gas Supply Corporation. Huge pipes laid out in two stacks were cut with gas cutters before large cranes started removing them.


“Jumbo cranes have been brought to remove these heavy objects. We are also removing cable laid along the bridge’s pavement,” said a PWD official overseeing the dismantling work. After the pipes, electrical cables along the bridge were also removed. “The biggest challenge is to install a level crossing. Twenty-four piles are being prepared for the Bailey bridge and the concrete must solidify fast. We had to reduce the required time to meet early deadlines,” said the PWD official. Meanwhile, the railways continued work on withdrawing one 1/12 crossover and laid a 1/8.5 one. The engineering work, including laying of the new crossover point, continued till 8.10am. It was followed by work on the signal poles till 12.10pm and then on the traction lines till 2.30pm. “Railway officials wanted to run some checks after that and they gave a ‘go ahead’ for normal services from 3.30pm,” said a railway official. Another PWD team continued to work on strengthening the roads on the Alipore Park Road side. Though 32 trains were cancelled for the traffic and power block, normal services resumed from 3.30pm. “Services will be normal on Monday,” said ER CPRO Rabi Mahapatra.



1 dead, 8 infected after H1N1spurt in Tirupati



Tirupati: H1N1 struck again in Chittoor District home district of Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu — claiming a life and infecting eight others within a week. The victim was a 61-year-old woman from G D Nellore, who died late on Saturday. District medical and health officer S Ramagiddaiah said, while first two cases were reported in the district on September 22, seven more were reported in and around Tirupati in a week. Most patients hail from Tirupati (rural) and from GD Nellore and SR Puram in the district. A doctor too has been admitted with H1N1 symptoms. All patients detected with the virus are being treated at an isolation ward at TTD-run Sri Venkateswara Institute of Medical Sciences (SVIMS) in Tirupati. S Ramagiddaiah said the district medical and health authorities launched measures to contain the spread of the epidemic. Awareness camps are being organized at the railway station, bus stands and at the Tirupati airport to educate devotees about precautionary measures against H1N1influenza. “We would also organize a few medical camps in the district. Our efforts are concentrated around Tirupati as most patients hail from the rural mandals of the temple city,” he said. With a spurt in dengue and chikungunya cases too, particularly when winter is knocking, medical authorities advised people to focus on hygiene. The virus breeds during the cold spell. “Sneezing, coughing or blowing the nose in public should be avoided and hand sanitizers should be used to avoid contact with external agents,” said the health department.



International News



832 lives lost… families torn apart… Quake and tsunami devastate Indonesian island


Palu: The toll from an earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia soared on Sunday to 832 confirmed dead, with authorities fearing it will only climb as rescuers struggle to reach outlying communities cut off from communications and help. Dozens of people were reported to be trapped in the rubble of two hotels and a mall in the city of Palu in Sulawesi island, which was hit by waves as high as 20 feet following the 7.5 magnitude quake on Friday. A woman was pulled alive from the debris of the city’s Roa Hotel, where up to 50 people were believed trapped. Hundreds of people gathered at the wrecked mall searching for loved ones. With most of the deaths from Palu, authorities are bracing for much worse as reports filter in from outlying areas, in particular, Donggala, Sigi and Parigi Moutong — which have a combined population of 1.2 million. Vice-president Jusuf Kalla said the toll could rise into the thousands. President Joko Widodo visited a housing complex flattened when the quake liquefied the soil it stood on, and called for patience. “I know there are many problems that need to be solved in a short time, including communications,” he said.





Scores of residents shouted “we’re hungry, we need food” as soldiers distributed rations from a truck in one neighborhood. Five foreigners — three French, one South Korean and one Malaysian — were among the missing, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, said. About 16,000 displaced people needed clean water, Nugroho said, while 540 were injured, many getting treatment in tents. Finance minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said the government had allocated 560 billion rupiahs ($37.58 million) for disaster recovery, media reported. Indonesia, which sits on the seismically active Pacific Ring of Fire, is all too familiar with deadly earthquakes and tsunamis. In 2004, a quake off Sumatra island triggered a tsunami across the Indian Ocean, killing 226,000 people in 13 countries, including more than 120,000 in Indonesia.

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