News Flash – 11 July 2018

National News



Another downpour sees city headed for wettest July ever

TRACKS TURN WATERWAYS: WR services to Vasai (above) and Virar were cut off due to flooded tracks.



Mumbai: The fourth consecutive day of heavy rain coupled with a high tide rained misery on the city on Tuesday as hundreds of houses in low-lying areas like Kalina, Chembur and Mankhurd were submerged in waist-high water and commutes went for a toss. Two persons died and three were hurt as their car lost control on the highway at Charoti bridge in Kasa near Palghar. On Tuesday night, two people drowned in a nullah in Dombivli. In just 10 July days, the city has received 864.5mm rain-—more than what it usually gets over the entire month. The average rainfall for July is 840mm. If the rain continues at this rate, it is likely to surpass the figure of 1,468.5mm in 2014, the highest in the city’s recorded history. As the monsoon gathered more force, so did accompanying woes like train cancellations, delays, and water-logging on several roads. While WR cancelled 150 services, CR ran 127 fewer services on Tuesday. On WR, services were being operated only till Bhayander. Office attendance was thin. Flights were delayed by about 30 minutes. While a 12-hour outage was reported in Mahim, areas like Maharashtra Nagar in Mankhurd suffered 4-5-hour power cuts.



Intercity travellers stuck on trains up to 12 hours


Mumbai: Passengers stranded aboard intercity trains spent long, anxious hours along Vasai, Nalasopara, Virar and Dahanu as the tracks flooded, bringing the locomotives to a halt. Their ordeal that lasted 12 hours or more without food and water was compounded by lugging baggage through waist-deep water amid rumours of snake sightings. The authorities came up woefully short as travellers were left to their own devices. Initially, Sikh gurdwara volunteers and Good Samaritans brought them food and water. At 11.34am, Western Railway announced that it was arranging food for the weary travellers. However, the special train carrying around 2,000 food packets was dispatched from Mumbai Central to Naigaon as late as 7pm when most of them had already gone home. The bunching of trains along Nalasopara began with the Vadodara Express 12928 at 3.25am. This train, which runs down Vadodara to Mumbai Central, was the worst affected. Vadodara Express has a night-long six-hour journey and no pantry car so the passengers were left without food and water. Chandni T, the daughter of a kidney patient on dialysis, and another woman, Fizza, travelling with her elderly mother, tweeted their discomfort. Chandni’s father was stuck in a train for 13 hours from 5am and to 6pm.



Daksha Karwatkar said senior citizens and children were travelling in her AC coach whose power was switched off. Karwatkar told TOI from her coach: “Only a few locals offered us food and water. We are stuck between Virar and Nalasopara for 12 hours. The coach is so stuffy. We are waiting for the water to recede.” Around 2pm, Joy Oza (27) jumped off Vadodara Express and waded through the tracks. He said, “I trudged to Nalasopara highway and took a rickshaw to Dahisar.” NDRF rescued some 1,000 passengers from Vadodara Express in the evening, some of whom were put up at a nearby dharamshala. Near Vaitarna station, those stranded since early Tuesday said the toilets had turned unusable. Passengers were left without mobile charge. Meanwhile, 50 members of Shri Virar Kutchi Visa Oswal Jain Seva Samaj helped stranded passengers with theplas, poha, puri, rotis, tea and water (see pic). Volunteer Tarun Vora said they helped those aboard Vadodara Express, Bhuj Bandra Express, Lokshakti Express and Bhavnagar-Bandra-Jamnagar Express, among other trains. Western Railway has asked Vasai-Virar civic body to improve its drainage and construct a wall along the tracks.



Air India Express aircraft overshoots ‘slippery’ runway by 10ft, no one hurt


Mumbai: An Air India Express aircraft with 89 people onboard overshot the secondary runway at Mumbai airport by 10ft on landing on Tuesday. All passengers onboard the flight from Vijayawada were safe and the aircraft was not damaged. “Mumbai has been experiencing continuous heavy rain and the reason for the poor slippery condition of the runway will be investigated,” said an Air India Express spokesperson. Mumbai Airport Pvt Ltd spokesperson did not comment on the incident. On Tuesday, the 12,000ft long main runway was closed for maintenance for a few hours and aircraft were landing on the shorter 9,760ft long secondary runway 14/32. The Vijayawada-Mumbai flight IX-213 touched down at 2.51pm. Despite a rather forgiving crosswind of 18kmph, the Boeing 737-800 aircraft ran along the length of the runway to stop 10ft ahead on the paved stop way. The AI Express spokesperson said according to information sourced from the incident report filed by the cockpit crew, the aircraft had touched down within the touchdown zone and its pilots had used maximum braking, but the aircraft couldn’t come to a halt because the runway was slippery. “Fire engines were rushed to the spot… All passengers were safe. The aircraft didn’t need to be towed, but a ‘follow-me vehicle’ guided it to a parking bay,” said an air traffic control official. With the aircraft stranded off the functional runway, the next arrival, an Air India flight AI 507 from Hubli to Mumbai was forced to go-around.


A runway overrun could occur during a landing in poor weather conditions like strong cross, tail winds; or when landing on a wet runway where the aircraft wheel assembly is met with poor braking action. A senior commander said: “Rubber deposits on runway reduce friction, making it harder to bring an aircraft to a halt. Rubber is left behind by hot wheels along the touchdown zone and then along the further end of the runway where aircraft turn into a taxiway.” For this reason, rubber deposits are removed regularly as part of runway maintenance. “On Monday night, a number of pilots reported that braking action was poor on main runway 27, but it was due to heavy rains. Water on the runway makes it harder to bring an aircraft to a halt,” he added. Another factor that will be investigated is aircraft maintenance. Whether the grooves on the aircraft wheels were worn out, a factor that could affect an aircraft’s braking action, said a pilot. Capt. Mohan Ranganathan, an air safety expert, said: “The wet runway landing distance is longer than a dry runway landing distance. But pilots generally take dry runway landing distance into account without adding precautions”.



Your ideas to decide CCTV policy


New Delhi: It will be the people who will shape the standard operating procedure/ regulatory framework for the installation, operation and monitoring of CCTV cameras to be installed across the city. The home department had recently drafted the Delhi Rules for Regulation of CCTV Camera Systems in NCT of Delhi, 2018 under the Delhi Police Act, 1978, but this will be revised in tune with the public feedback. Manoj Parida, principal secretary (home) and chairman of the committee on CCTV formed by lieutenant governor Anil Baijal, has invited opinions from the general public, including residents’ welfare associations, on the rules and guidelines for installing, operating and monitoring CCTV cameras in public places. The LG had set up this panel for standardising the process after Delhi government approved the installation of 1.4 lakh CCTVs across the capital. On Tuesday, however, despite chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s directions to include CCTV project in the discussion of the cabinet meeting, the cabinet note could not be put up. This means the award of work is likely to take some time. A government official said the note might be put before the cabinet next week. The procedure for formulating a regulatory framework has been in controversy, with the LG entrusting the work to his committee and Kejriwal criticising the LG for leaving such a crucial assignment to a panel that did not have a single representative of the elected government. In May, the CM even sat on protest outside Raj Niwas after the LG refused to meet him to discuss the issue.


“The rules will be revised in tune with the feedback given by the people,” a government source said on Tuesday. “We do not intend to make the SOP something prepared by bureaucrats. The committee has already held a few meetings with market associations and some members of the public, but it has now been decided that the committee will take the views of the public at large.” The final revised rules will be notified under the Delhi Police Act. A controversy might erupt on whether the CCTV camera project is a subject under police/ law and order or a development project. A source in the bureaucracy insisted, “The committee was formed under the home department for the sake of citizens’ privacy and city’s security. It was made to check crime and prevent criminal activities, so the committee continues to remain valid even in the light of the Supreme Court drawing the lines between the LG and the government”. AAP Delhi spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj, however, maintained, “The elected government is not bound by the recommendations of the committee, which was formed without consulting the government and aimed at delaying the project”.



Soon, battle parking woes at Metro Stations with an app


Hyderabad: Commuters hopping onto the Metro Rail on the 30 km-long Miyapur-Ameerpet-Nagole stretch, that is currently operational, will be able to digitally locate the nearest two-wheeler and four-wheeler ‘smart’ parking bays through the location services on their smartphones in the future, if the Hyderabad Metro Rail Limited (HMRL) has its way. HMRL is developing an Integrated Smart Parking Management System (ISPMS), which is based on a comprehensive digital solution, under the brand name ‘Park Hyderabad’. The system, which is being developed on the instructions of Municipal Administration and Urban Development (MA&UD) minister K T Rama Rao, will have a citizen mobile app providing real-time information from all the on-street smart parking lots at Metro stations, HMRL authorities said on Tuesday. Users can simply use the location services on their smartphones to digitally check the available bays to park their vehicles in the nearly 4,000 two-wheeler parking bays and 400 four-wheeler parking bays developed at these 24 Metro stations, they added. The parking areas at the Metro stations, which will be aesthetically developed with covered parking shelters, will also provide free Wi-Fi and other facilities, HMRL authorities said, adding that these attractive smart parking lots will become hubs of activity with CCTV cameras linked to a central Command and Control Centre.



As rain sinks city localities, experts offer a flood of tips


Hyderabad: With episodes of high intensity rainfall increasing every year, experts warn that more areas in Hyderabad will be flooded if no remedial measures are planned. They suggest that separate channels should be created to carry rainwater. At present, rainwater is let into underground nalas and open drains, which are already “overburdened” by domestic and industrial wastes. This leads to flooding of arterial roads and several localities in case of a heavy downpour. Two separate research studies carried out by experts, including those from Osmania University (OU), reiterated the need for removal of encroachments on open drains, lakes and Musi. The carrying capacity of most drains, lakes and the river has come down by almost 40% with encroachments obstructing the rainwater flow. One of the studies, conducted by Dr S Venkateshwarlu, Dr N Sridhar and Prof Vijaya Bhole of the department of geography and geo-informatics, Osmania University, revealed that the so-called posh localities, including IT hub, were worst affected in terms of water logging. Though the study banked on data obtained during monsoon of 2015, it still holds good.


Interestingly, Old City, which was planned a little over four centuries ago, has a low risk of inundation. The results of the study were published in the recent issue of International Journal of Engineering Science Invention. “Water logging in urban areas can also be termed as street flooding, as the roads appear as streams or rivers. The socio-economic and physical impact of flooding in urban environment is higher than that of water logging,” the study warned, adding that about 25% of water bodies in and around Hyderabad have fallen victim of urbanisation. Another study blamed lack of separate storm water drainage system for waterlogging. The study published in the recent issue of Indian Journal of Scientific Research said the nature of the drainage basin has influenced flooding. The research was conducted by Raja Kishan Rao of irrigation department and Korapati Manga and Dr V Lobo of Aurora’s Scientific Technological and Research Academy, Hyderabad.



4 conned of Rs. 2.3L gold jewellery in less than 15 hours



Chennai: Three women and a man were swindled of 10 sovereigns (80g) of gold jewellery worth Rs.2.3 lakh in cases reported from KK Nagar, Teynampet and Pondy Bazaar in less than 15 hours between Monday night and Tuesday morning. Late on Monday in KK Nagar, 56-year-old Kanchana was walking home after visiting a restaurant when a man approached her on Bazaar Street. He told her he had commenced a jewellery business and needed her blessings, said police. After walking with her for a while, he asked the woman to place her two-sovereign gold chain on a plate which he carried, claiming it was a ritual. He promised to return after buying items for the puja. When he failed to return, she lodged a police complaint. That night in KK Nagar, a man offered Jagathambal, 66, of Nesapakkam a cool drink spiked with sleeping pills and escaped with her four-sovereign gold earring and nose ring.


In Teynampet, Janaki, 66, a sweeper at a computer spare parts manufacturing firm in Seethambal Nagar, was cheated of her gold chain on Tuesday morning. Janaki was on her way to work when a man prostrated before her and addressed her respectfully, said police. Having won her confidence, he asked Janaki to remove her two-sovereign gold chain, assuring that he would replace it with a new chain. When he did not return after several hours, she alerted a laundry man in the area who lodged a complaint. After inspecting CCTV camera footage, police found the man had visited a private travel agency in the area and have launched a hunt for him. In Pondy Bazaar, a man posing as a policeman conned a 60-year-old man early on Tuesday and escaped with his two sovereign gold chain. Paneerselvam was walking home when the man approached him and asked him to remove the chain as it was unsafe to wear it on a busy lane. The man gave Paneerselvam a piece of paper to wrap the chain and swapped it with a packet containing stones.



International News



The world was cheering for this Thailand football team


Chiang Rai (Thailand): Rescuers freed the last four of 12 Thai boys and their football coach from deep inside a flooded cave on Tuesday, a successful end to a perilous mission that gripped the world for more than two weeks. The Wild Boars soccer team, aged between 11 and 16, and their 25-year-old coach became trapped on June 23 while exploring the cave complex in the northern province of Chiang Rai when a rainy season downpour flooded the tunnels. Cheers erupted at a local government office where dozens of volunteers and journalists were awaiting news of whether the intricate and high-risk rescue mission had succeeded. Helicopters transporting the boys roared overhead. People on the street cheered and clapped when ambulances ferrying them on the last leg of their journey from the cave arrived at a hospital in Chiang Rai city. Amporn Sriwichai, an aunt of the rescued coach, Ekkapol Chantawong, said she was happy and excited. “If I see him, I just want to hug him and tell him that I missed him very much,” she said. The plight of the boys and their coach has captivated not only Thailand, but the world — from the heart-sinking news that they were missing — to the first flickering video of the huddle of anxious yet smiling boys when they were found 10 days later by a pair of British divers.


Each of the boys, ages 11 to 16 and with no diving experience, was guided out by a pair of divers in three days of intricate and high-stakes operations. The route, in some places just a crawl space, had oxygen canisters positioned at regular intervals to refresh each team’s air supply. Highlighting the dangers, a former Thai navy SEAL died on Friday while replenishing the canisters. Cave-diving experts had warned it was potentially too risky to dive the boys out. But Thai officials, acutely aware that the boys could be trapped for months by monsoon rains that would swell waters in the cave system, seized a window of opportunity provided by relatively mild weather. A massive water pumping effort also made the winding cave more navigable. “We did something nobody thought possible,” Chiang Rai province’s acting governor Narongsak Osatanakorn, leader of the rescue effort, said. Thai PM Prayuth Chanocha said the boys were given an anti-anxiety medication to help with their perilous removal from the cave. Prayuth said the Tham Luang cave would be closed for some time to make it safe for visitors. The eight boys brought out by divers on Sunday and Monday were doing well and were in good spirits, a health official said. It could be at least seven days before they can be released from the hospital. Family members have seen at least some of the boys from behind a glass isolation barrier. They were given a treat on Tuesday: bread with chocolate spread that they had requested.

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