News Flash – 11 October 2017

National News



Government plans to ease Aadhaar-mobile linking



NEW DELHI: There is relief on the way for mobile phone users, particularly senior citizens, facing difficulties in complying with the Supreme Court’s order linking Aadhaar with mobiles as proxy authorisation may soon be permitted for the purpose. The options being considered by the government in consultation with telecom companies include use of online OTP (one time password) for mobile numbers registered with the Unique Identification Authority of India, alternatives such as iris scanning for per sons whose fingerprints are indistinct and home visits for senior citizens. Sources said the UIDAI is expected to issue directions outlining the options that could be made available to mobile users to comply with the SC ruling so that the process is completed with minimum inconvenience to the public. There has been concern that public annoyance over time consuming procedures was reflecting poorly on the government even though it had not sought Aadhaar linkage to phones. The proxy authorisation option will see a person nominated by a senior citizen verifying Aadhaar linkage for the mobile user. As of now, it is not clear whether the facility will be restricted to senior citizens or be available to other mobile users as well. The move should ease problems like long waits at mobile service provider outlets and issues such as non-availability of machines.


Aadhaar linkage could get even simpler if the mobile number is the same as provided to UIDAI at the time of registration. The UIDAI itself is not permitted under law to share details with telecom companies but can do so through an OTP verified process provided by service provider. The option of home visits by telecom companies where biometrics can be confirmed by a small scanner linked to a mobile is also being considered. Telecom secretary Aruna Sundararajan told TOI that the government was mindful of many concerns, and recently held a meeting with mobile operators and UIDAI to sort them out. “We are trying to smoothen things for both telcos and customers. We are particularly concerned for older customers where biometrics can fail. We are coming out with measures to ease the pain of customers,” she said. Mobile phone consumers have been receiving urgent and repeated messages from telecom operators to link their SIM cards with Aadhaar, or face disconnection in services. Customers of leading companies such as Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular are having to deal with SMS alerts and even tele-calls to link the numbers with Aadhaar.


For example, customers are being told by some operators that their numbers will be disconnected in case the verification is “not completed immediately”. This is far from the truth as customers have time till around the first week of February next year to complete the process. Then why the threat? A harried customer of Airtel got this message regarding the linkage with Aadhaar, “…To continue services, please contact the service centre”. “It does not even mention that we have time till February next year. I am already being bombarded by the operator to do it immediately, or face disconnection. Is this fair?” the Delhi based customer said. “Besides, there is major trouble for people living in rural, hilly or smaller towns. Telecom service centres are located at faraway locations and it may not always be feasible for customers to go again and again,” said another customer. Telecom companies justified the urgency on their part to the “potential rush if everyone comes for verification towards the end of the deadline in February”. However, they did not answer questions about customer pain points.



Firemen pull out pregnant cow from 36-ft-deep well after 6-hour rescue op



Kalyan: Firemen struggled for six hours to rescue a pregnant cow that had fallen into a 36-ft-deep well in Kalyan‘s Ram Maruti area on Tuesday afternoon. The cow was finally extricated using a hydra crane. Around 6am, the fire department received call from a tabela owner about a cow having fallen into a nearby well. “We reached the spot within 30 minutes,” fire officer Namdev Chaudhari told TOI. “Though the road leading to the well was narrow and a few power wires were hanging low, we managed to get the hydra crane to the spot. First four firemen were dropped into the well. They used rope to secure the cow and she was slowly brought out to safety,” he added. The rescue operation ended by 2.30pm.



Security Guard falls into pit, dies



NEW DELHI: A security guard working at a construction site of the Supreme Court Bar Association on DDU Marg died after falling into a pit at the site on Tuesday morning. Prima facie probe suggests that he had fallen accidentally. But his family members have alleged that he was pushed by someone during a scuffle. A case has been registered. The incident was reported around 7am when a guard on morning duty found the guard, Ramchander (50), in the pit. Preliminary enquiry suggests that the guard who suffered from a disability and had a limp had slipped off the edge of the pit and landed on his head on the concrete around 20 feet below ground level. He died due to excessive bleeding.



New flyover, loops to ease Delhi-Noida traffic by March


NEW DELHI: Commuters taking the UP Link Road to travel between Delhi and Noida can expect traffic congestion on the stretch to ease considerably by next year, as the Public Works Department plans to make a parallel flyover and two connecting loops at Mayur Vihar Phase-I intersection operational by March 2018. PWD will execute a multi modal integration (MMI) plan to ensure smooth traffic and pedestrian movement in the area. Due to construction of the flyover, Mayur Vihar Phase-I intersection has become a traffic bottleneck on UP Link Road, a signal-free corridor between Akshardham and Noida border. PWD officials said the intersection will be a crucial transit point as DMRC is constructing an interchange station and the Barapullah Phase-III elevated corridor will touch down here. Traffic and pedestrian load is expected to rise manifold once these projects are operational. If the intersection isn’t improved, there will be massive congestion on this road, officials said. “We will make the flyover and the loops operational by March 2018. This will ease congestion. We will also implement the MMI plan for smooth traffic and pedestrian movement,” said Sarvagya Srivastava, engineer-in-chief, PWD. The intersection improvement and MMI plans have been approved by UTTIPEC (Unified Traffic and Transportation Infrastructure (Planning and Engineering) Centre). PWD officials say the flyover will be completed by December this year and the two connecting loops will be done by March 2018.



The two loops have been planned to allow smooth traffic in and out of Mayur Vihar Phase-I. One loop will allow traffic from Mayur Vihar Phase-I to get onto the new flyover and the second loop will allow traffic coming from Noida to enter Mayur Vihar. PWD will start work on the implementation of MMI after the flyover and loops are made operational. Srivastava said, “We are preparing the estimates for the implementation of MMI plan. As part of the MMI, we will widen the bridge on the (Shahdara) drain, create parking facility for auto and rickshaws, widen the road etc”. The culvert over the drain, which is one of the main entries to Mayur Vihar Phase-I, will be widened by around 15m on both sides, as per the MMI plan. “DMRC has constructed a pillar on this bridge due to which there is little space for traffic movement. The culvert will be widened to create space for vehicular traffic,” said a PWD official. PWD will soon start work on detailed drawing of the MMI project. To ensure smooth movement of traffic in the residential area, PWD had recently constructed a bridge on the drain just before the Mayur Vihar Phase-I intersection. The construction of Barapullah Phase-III is stuck due to delay in land acquisition, but PWD is carrying out work on both the ends of the elevated corridor. DRMC sources say the construction of the interchange station will be complete by March 2018.



Bank returns money to robbery victim – twice



BENGALURU: After refusing to compensate a victim of cybercrime, a bank in Bengaluru finally returned his money… not once, but twice. The State Bank of India returned Rs 50,000 to Mattikere resident Basavaraj Badigera after cyber criminals looted Rs 25,000 from his savings account on July 9. The victim had got his account locked and had lodged a complaint with the bank and at the Yashavanthapura police station, as soon as he realised what had happened. But the bank initially did not heed Badigera’s complaint. It was only when he complained to the Reserve Bank of India with all required documentation, that the bank, on September 16, returned Rs 25,000 to his account. On September 28, Badigera once again received Rs 25,000 from the bank. Badigera, who is an auditor, explained that a One Time Password (OTP) is mandatory for any kind of funds transfer through the online banking, but the bank erroneously provided the code to the robbers. Since the mistake was committed by the bank, he was eligible for compensation. “I received my money back. But without my mistake, I lost money, time and also mental peace. So I asked for Rs 5,000 as compensation,” Badigera said. Badigera recalled that his friend, too, had found himself in a similar problem. His friend had immediately complained to the bank and police station when he realised that cyber criminals had looted Rs 1 lakh from his account. Within days, he received a refund.



Dengue cases on the rise in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh; Prakasam district worst affected



HYDERABAD: Dengue cases are on the rise in the two Telugu states with Prakasam district in Andhra Pradesh recording four deaths in the last 24 hours. Authorities said, Hyderabad, already reeling under a bout of influenza a, has seen a massive jump in dengue cases over the last couple of weeks, with 60 fresh cases reported each week in the city. During October 1to 6, a whopping 54 new cases were recorded. Not only the city , dengue fever has gripped even rest of Telangana with 360 cases reported over just a fortnight between September 23 and November 6, as per official records. Moreover, these numbers reflect positive cases tested at government hospitals and laboratories only . There is no data available from the large number of privately operated hospitals and laboratories which conduct dengue tests. A total of 1674 dengue cases have been recorded this year so far, nearly 140 more than the cases recorded last year in Telangana. As per official records just three deaths were recorded during 2016 while this year so far 10 cases have already been recorded. Despite constant monitoring, dengue continues to rattle several parts of AP. In Prakasam district alone, L Hemalatha, 40, and M Bramha Reddy, 52 of Pasupugallu village in Mundlamur mandal died of the deadly fever. A nine-month old baby fell prey to dengue in Darsi, while another youth died in Chintalapalem village of Kanigiri mandal. The officials, who had initially ruled out the outbreak of dengue fever and deaths from it, also confirmed the alarming situation in the district. However, the situation turned worse with nearly 60 per cent growth in dengue fever cases over the last one week. Official reports revealed that about 67 dengue positive cases was reported last week with a jump of nearly 27 cases.


“About 30 per cent of the state’s dengue cases are from Prakasam district. It shows the gravity of the situation,” said a senior health department official. He added that the situation further escalated following continuous rains, which is virtually crippling the sanitation situation in the rural areas. Panic-stricken by the fever, people are rushing to the district headquarters hospital for treatment. However, the inadequate arrangements made at the Rims is only forcing poor people to shift their kin to the private hospitals for better treatment. “Unable to wait in the long queue at Rims, I have rushed my wife to a private hospital where they have charged `3000 only for the tests,” rued Nasaraiah, a farmer from Darsi. Dengue which is spread by the ` Aedes’ mosquito is usually noticed after a few spells of rainfall. While state health authorities are closely monitoring the numbers, they have ruled out an outbreak in Telangana. “So far we have not got cases from a specific location. Although there is an increase in numbers, these are mostly sporadic cases. We also do not expect an outbreak in the coming months as people are taking precautions and are more aware about the circulating viruses,” pointed out Dr G Subbalaxmi, joint director epidemics. Apart from the actual increase in cases, increases screening is also a reason for cases being detected. “Most doctors are running dengue and swine flu tests for any patient with fever and a low platelet count. Earlier, fever patients were tested for malaria and typhoid, now all four tests are being run,” said another official. Meanwhile, swine flu too remains active across districts with five to 10 new cases being recorded each day. On Tuesday, eight new swine flu cases were recorded at the Institute of Preventive Medicine (IPM). This year the toll of swine flu has crossed 25, while it was seven last year.



Woman rescued from flooded colony for medical emergency in Hyderabad


HYDERABAD: Stuck in flood waters at Ramanthapur, a rescued woman could eventually fly to Chennai for a scheduled surgery on Tuesday. Reaching her house to carry out the rescue was also no easy task for officials. As the overflowing Ramanthapur peddachervu (lake) inundated the localities nearby, it practically became impossible for the residents to come out. A neighbor of the woman brought the plight of the woman to the notice of GHMC officials. Following a request by her brother Mohan, officials carried out a rescue operation to bring her to safety. “We have been informed that they went to the airport and took off for Chennai for her scheduled surgery,” said C Uma Gowri, assistant medical officer of health, C2, Uppal, GHMC.


Around 10 am on Tuesday, a motor boat was sent to fetch the woman and her family. The motor boat could not be used as it had to as its base was touching the ground at some place. As a way out, the entomology workers decided to pull the motor boat and also rowed it across to dry land from the house of the woman at Laxminagar colony, Ramanthapur which was 400 metres away from a dry road. Officials were not ferrying people but this was done as a case of emergency. “We were dewatering the colonies which were getting flooded again because of the rain during the nights. The rescue was undertaken as it was a medical emergency,” Uma Gowri said. Because of this, there is constantly more than knee deep water on the roads and the colonies near Ramanthapur Pedda Cheruvu. There at 40 apartments complexes in the areas which have been flooded due to incessant rains in the city. At least 30 families of hut dwellers were also evacuated from Sai Chaitanyanagar and have been provided shelter where food is being supplied for them.



Heavy rain leaves districts waterlogged, one killed

ASANSOL: A deep depression hit the Asansol-Durgapur industrial belt on Monday night, triggering heavy rain for several hours accompanied by swirling winds that blew at the speed of 60-65km, leaving several areas waterlogged. A resident of Hahat village in Burdwan, Nurjahan Bibi (57), was killed when a wall collapsed on her. Durgapur SDM Sankha Santra, who visited the affected areas said, “Several areas under the Durgapur Municipal Corporation, including Tamla, Main Gate, Waria, Mana, Khatpukur, have been inundated. About 2,500 households have been affected. Civic body teams are working in the areas and temporary kitchens are set up in two places. The fire and forest departments have helped clear roads that were blocked by uprooted trees. Twelve civil defence volunteers have also been deployed for the rescue and relief operations”. In Asansol, Ramkrishna Danga, Satabdi Park, Kalyanpur Housing, Dildarnagar, Kulti Priya Colony, Hussainpara in Raniganj, were affected.



Official dengue toll touches 80; declare epidemic, say doctors



CHENNAI: The official death figures for dengue rose to 80 on Monday with directorate of public health officials confirming 40 deaths due to dengue and an equal number due to viral haemorrhagic fever or shock syndrome -triggered by dengue -since January. But senior doctors’ bodies such as Indian Medical Association and Indian Public Health Association have been asking the government to declare the disease as an epidemic. A senior health official told TOI that although they have reported 11,500 cases of dengue since January, the real numbers could at least be thrice as much. “We don’t want to give the full figures and cause panic. The number doesn’t matter anymore. What we need is vector control. Declaring it an epidemic won’t solve the problem,” he said on the condition of anonymity. Former health director Dr S Elango said the state’s decision to under-report cases was against WHO norms. Another major problem is a 60% shortage in health inspectors. The state now has just 3,500 health inspectors against the required 10,000. “Half of these 3,500 inspectors have been transferred to the post from programmes that have been closed. Hence, they aren’t trained in vector control,” said public health director Dr K Kolandasamy.



International News



Tropical storm Ophelia expected to become a hurricane


MIAMI: Tropical Storm Ophelia is expected to strengthen to a hurricane as it spins far out over the Atlantic. The storm’s maximum sustained winds early Tuesday are near 50mph (85kph). The US National Hurricane Center says Ophelia is expected to become a hurricane by Wednesday. The storm is centered about 790 miles (1,270 kilometers) west-southwest of the Azores and is moving southeast near 3 mph (6kph). The storm is not currently a threat to any land.



UNHCR on ‘full alert’ as 11,000 Rohingya flee in a day

Rohingya refugees walk across a field after crossing the border in Palang Khali, Bangladesh



GENEVA: Bangladesh border guards reported more than 11,000 Rohingya refugees crossing into their country from Myanmar on Monday, the United Nations refugee agency said. “We’re back in a situation of full alert as far as influxes are concerned. It is a big increase to see 11,000,” Adrian Edwards, spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told a news briefing in Geneva on Tuesday. “UNHCR is working with the Bangladesh authorities on a transit centre to prepare for a potential refugee influx in the coming days,” he said.

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