News Flash – 13 July 2018

National News



2 days later, Vasai-Virar still waterlogged


Mumbai: Two days after rain stopped, several areas in the Vasai-Virar region continued to be waterlogged and without electricity supply for the fourth day on Thursday. In such a scenario, rain is expected on Friday, the met department said. The region was paralysed on Monday and Tuesday following heavy downpour. Roads, railway stations, homes, shops and factories were marooned in waist high water, leading to power cut for over 37 hours. On Thursday, areas like 100 Feet Road, Sun City, Diwanman, Sai Nagar, Pandit Deendayal Nagar, Ashwin Nagar in Vasai were still waterlogged. Several areas in Nalasopara (west) were waterlogged affecting restoration of power supply. Residents blamed the Vasai Virar Municipal Corporation (VVMC) for failing to respond to the emergency. They complained that neither elected representatives nor civic staff turned up at spots that were badly hit. There was also shortage of pumps to clear rainwater. “The municipality should have arranged pumps and removed the water. They cannot give the excuse of rain as it has been dry since Wednesday,” said a Nalasopara (west) resident Rajesh Borkar. As a result, residents came together to arrange for private pumps. “The flooding was attributed to rains. There has not been a drop of rain since Wednesday, yet water levels are not receding. We are forced to find our own solution,” said Mallika Shetty, a resident of Ashwin Nagar in Vasai, which still has waist high water.


The civic body claimed to have pressed in over 150 pumps to clear water from over 60 spots. Water accumulated in the west areas have drained out into the sea. But in the east, there’ no outlet for water due to destruction of nullahs. A Corporator pointed out that a huge nullah in Tuling, Nalasopara (east) was reclaimed for a highrise. That caused all the rain water to land on the railway tracks and flow into Nallasopara (west). “We won’t be surprised if Vasai-Virar goes under water every time there is rain. The government should seriously reconsider their plans to develop Vasai’s wetlands into a growth centre on lines of BKC,” said Harit Vasai movement leader Marcus Dabre. Many on Thursday left for work after a forced holiday till Wednesday. Schools and colleges remained shut due to water logging in several areas. Technical issues had developed on the UP slow and fast lines at Virar at around 12.10 pm causing some delay in local trains. Now that rain has stopped, residents are worried about the risk of communicable diseases. While no case of water-borne and vector borne diseases like leptospirosis, typhoid, malaria, dengue has been reported from the region, a civic official said they have made arrangements at the four civic, 21 health centres and nine dispensaries across the region.



Speed thrills but kills: More lives lost this year than 2017


New Delhi: Since January this year, there has been an increase in the number of accidents being reported every month compared with last year. According to Delhi Police data, 751accidents were reported till June 30 this year against 715 accidents in the same period in 2017. The biggest killers were deemed to be speeding and driving under the influence, while pedestrians and two-wheeler riders were among the top victims. Around 41% of the accidents were hit-and-run cases that remained unsolved, with 18% of these involving trucks or heavy vehicles. Speeding cars caused 11% of the accidents. Speeding, disregard for traffic signals, lane indiscipline and sudden application of brakes were determined to be behind these accidents. Records show that almost 22% of the victims were killed while crossing the road. Of them, 12% were killed when the vehicle jumped the traffic signal. Private car drivers were not only the biggest killers, but also the most sufferers in accidents. Drivers in the age-group of 25-35 were behind one-third of the accidents and the reason for accidents in a fifth of the cases was speeding. With little or no prosecutions at night, rule violations increased between 8pm and 2am, obviously because the police presence on roads is thin in the period. Riding without helmets, riding three to a bike and speeding are common after dark in central and north Delhi. While rampant construction activities and faulty road design caused around a third of the accidents, violation of traffic rules were responsible for the rest.


This year, the traffic police booked 50,691 drivers for jumping a traffic signal, but the police believe that more than double that number evaded prosecution. The traffic police’s plans to install gantry mounted cameras could deter such violations, but they have been limited to trial use. The police study found that two-lane roads were the most dangerous because overtaking risked drivers to accidents. Till June this year, 63,169 drivers were booked on these stretches. In 10% of the collisions with trucks, the accidents involved two wheelers. While the entry of trucks into Delhi have reduced by almost 60% after the Eastern Peripheral Expressway was opened, vehicles carrying construction materials still rampantly violate traffic norms after10pm. The highest number of accidents in March-April occurred between 10pm and 1am. Of the city’s arteries, Ring Road was found to be the deadliest. Around 45% of all the accidents on this important route were due to the driver’s fault, mainly violating traffic rules. Speeding and dangerous driving accounted for around 46% of the accidents.



Fire drill goes wrong, girl dies after hitting ledge


Video grabs show Logeswari sitting on second floor; trainer pushes her; her head rams the ledge.



Coimbatore: A 19-year-old girl died while jumping from the second floor of a building at a disaster preparedness drill organised at a private college in Coimbatore on Thursday. Though a net was held by students on the ground, the girl hit a sunshade on the first floor and died on the spot. N Logeswari, a second year undergraduate student at the Kovai Kalaimagal College of Arts and Science at Vellimalaipattinam, was reluctant to jump, but was prompted repeatedly by a trainer and finally pushed. She hit the sun shade and fell motionless on the net. She was rushed to a government hospital, but was pronounced dead on arrival. She had suffered injuries in the occipital region of the head and right neck. Police said that about 20 students were given training to jump through an emergency window. The college management had organised the training on ‘disaster management and first aid’ on the college premises on Thursday morning. Arumugam, the trainer officer who held a certificate from the National Disaster Management Authority to conduct training programmes, had come to take classes for the students. In the evening, he asked for volunteers to jump from the second floor of the college main building as part of the training programme. Around 20 students volunteered. A It was an exercise on ways to escape from a building during a disaster. “The girl said she was interested in jumping from the second floor, but later backed out. Later, she gained confidence and told the trainer that she wanted to jump. However, when she got on to the sunshade, she was reluctant to jump. But the trainer kept prompting her and finally he gave her a push. Unfortunately, she hit the sunshade of the first floor and suffered severe injuries on the neck and head,” said a student of the college.



When it pours, Marredpally swims in sewage


Hyderabad: Following Thursday’s long spell of rainfall, residents of east and west Marredpally complained of multiple civic issues plaguing the area, including overflowing of sewerage water and potholed roads. Ruing how the poor upkeep has left locals seriously inconvenienced, residents urged the authorities to roll out temporary and permanent measures to plug these gaps. “Sewage water is seen overflowing in our area, every time it rains. This is a major problem haunting commuters using the street connecting Shanker Veedhi to Teachers Colony in east Marredpally. Other parts of the locality too are facing a similar issue. The authorities must take up the matter and resolve it on priority basis,” said Jay Prakash, a resident of Teachers Colony who is also co-ordinates with civic officials to highlight the civic grievances of people living in the area. Similar commuting woes were aired by Sundeep George who regularly travels along Street No 8 (west Marredpally) that houses the Subramanya Swamy Temple. “The ride is bumpy and rough. The condition worsens each time it rains as it lead to waterlogging and the potholes on this road are not visible. I experienced a sudden jolt on my shoulder the other day when my bike hit a pothole because of this,” he said calling for urgent restoration of this stretch.


Other roads in the area that are crying for attention, residents said, are — the St Johns Road in east Marredpally and on the stretch near the State Bank of India in west Marredpally. “If these roads are not repaired soon, we will be forced to shell out more money for the upkeep of our vehicles,” said a woman motorist. When contacted, officials of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation said that these works will be executed soon. “Work on most of the roads in east and west Marredpally will start once the rains stop. I will also co-ordinate with Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board to resolve the sewage issue,” said D Suresh, deputy commissioner (GHMC) of Begumpet. Nizam colony in Tolichowki was one of the most affected areas. TIMES VIEW: Every monsoon exposes the failure of the civic authorities in tackling excessive rainfall and lack of proper drainage systems. Learning their lesson, the GHMC must prepare well for rest of the rainy season and ensure that drains are not clogged and deploy more personnel to address complaints effectively



Six dead, 4 critical after gas leak in Andhra steel plant


Anantapur: At least six workers died and four others were critically ill after they inhaled carbon monoxide in a steel plant at Jambulapadu village under Tadipatri mandal of Anantapur on Thursday evening. The incident took place at Gerdau Steel Pvt Ltd after a gas pipe developed a leak in a processing chamber. According to Tadipatri tehsildar M Yallamma, one of the workers fainted after inhaling the gas when he went into the chamber around 4.15pm. Other workers, unaware of the gas leak as carbon monoxide does not contain any colour or odour, rushed to his rescue and ended up inhaling it. The deceased were identified as B Ranganath (21) of Bodaipalli village, U Gangadhar (37) from T Molakurupalli, K Manoj Kumar (24) from Poyullayyapalem, S A Waseem Basha, a native of Betamcherla in Kurnool district, K Siva Maddileti (26) from Mangapatnam in Kadapa district and Guravaiah (40) from Pallapalli village of Veligallu mandal in Prakasham district. While Ranganath and Gangadhar died on the spot, the other four died while being shifted to hospital. District SP GVG Ashok Kumar and joint collector Dilli Rao visited the mishap site even as local leaders of opposition parties staged a protest demanding justice for the families. Chandrababu Naidu spoke to officials and directed them to extend all help.


The district administration announced Rs 5 lakh compensation for the families of victims and said that they would ensure one family member of each victim gets a job in the plant. Locals allege that the incident happened due to the negligence of Gerdau steel plant. They said six people had fallen sick of which two died in the similar incident in 2008 but that the company management has not taken any corrective measures. The Anantapur SP said a case has been registered against the company. “We are investigating all angles and will take action against those responsible if negligence is established,” he said. Confirming the incident and the casualties, the Gerdau Steel management said: “Gerdau provided medical aid and the workers sent to local hospital. The company is assisting the family of the victims and is working to determine the cause. It is also extending all cooperation to local authorities. Operations at the unit have been suspended and will resume only after an extensive safety inspection,” it said. The Tadipatri plant is the only steel plant of the $20 billion turnover Brazilian headquartered Gerdau in Asia.



Two IndiGo flights avert mid-air collision over Bengaluru skies



New Delhi: Three aircraft of IndiGo have had close shaves due to breach of separation since Tuesday. In the first case, two flights of IndiGo with over 340 people onboard narrowly averted a mid-air collision in Bengaluru airspace on Tuesday night, in the latest of a growing incidence of planes getting dangerously close. Meanwhile, on Thursday, an IndiGo flight winging its way from Hyderabad to Lucknow (6E 732) and an Air Arabia flight from Sharjah to Chittagong (G9 521) also reportedly had a breach of separation near Jabalpur. The near miss of two Indi-Go flights was reportedly more serious in nature. The “traffic collision avoidance systems” (TCAS) equipment on these two Airbus A-320s got activated, after which the pilots pulled the planes apart and averted a disaster. “The TCAS-resolution advisory system was triggered on two of our aircraft operating Coimbatore-Hyderabad and Bangalore-Cochin routes, respectively, on July 10, 2018… this has been reported to the regulator (Directorate General of Civil Aviation, DGCA),” IndiGo said in a statement. According to sources, the two IndiGo planes were vertically about 200 feet and horizontally about 4 km away from each, while the minimum vertical separation is required to be 1,000 feet below FL 29,000 feet and 2000 feet above that level.



Seven-year-old boy returns bag with Rs.50,000 to police

GOOD DEED: Mohammed Yasin with district superintendent of police Sakthi Ganesan.



Erode: A Class II boy on Wednesday found a bag containing Rs.50,000 on roadside outside his school at Chinnasemur village and handed it over to police, winning praise from all quarters and making his parents proud. A student of Chinnasemur Panchayat Union Middle School, seven-year-old Mohammed Yasin found the bag when he went to answer a nature’s call. He immediately ran back to school and informed his class teacher V Jayanthi Bai, who took him to headmistress Yasmine. “The bag was partially concealed amid some bushes on roadside. I took it and gave it to my class teacher,” said Yasin. The boy’s elder brother Mohammed Mujamil, 13, is a Class VIII student of the same school. Touched by the student’s honesty, the headmistress didn’t waste any time and took the boy to district superintendent of police (SP) Sakthi Ganesan and handed over the bag.


The headmistress narrated everything to the police officer, who congratulated Yasin, a resident of the Kanirowtherkulam Nanthavana Thottam area in the city, and appreciated his exemplary conduct. The SP presented him with Rs.1,000, but Yasin refused to accept it. Though the police officer increased the cash reward to Rs.2,500, the boy didn’t change his mind. The SP subsequently presented Yasin and his elder brother with shiny new uniforms, shoes and bags at the office. The SP also said he would felicitate Yasin on July 19 to appreciate his gesture. “I will also issue a certificate to Yasin,” he said. On their part, the boy’s parents Abruth Begam and Basha said they were proud of what their son had done. Basha is a cloth vendor who hardly earns Rs.300 to Rs.500 a day, depending on the sales. His mother is a maid, who earns just Rs.1,000 a month.



International News



Dynamited by Taliban, Buddha of Swat smiles again after 11 years

The seventh-century rock sculpture of a seated Buddha carved into a mountain in Jahanabad town in Swat Valley of Pakistan has been restored by Italian archaeologists after the Taliban defaced it in 2007.



Peshawar: The iconic Buddha of Swat, carved on a cliff in the 7th century, has been restored to its almost original form with Italian assistance in the troubled northwestern Pakistan, nearly 11 years after it was dynamited by the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan during their control over the area. Buddha seated in a meditative posture, which is considered one of the largest rock sculptures in South Asia, was attacked in September 2007 by the Taliban militants, who blew up over half the statue’s face by drilling holes into the face and shoulders and inserting explosives, triggering a worldwide anger. The Italian government invested €2.5 million ($2.9 million) in five years to preserve the cultural heritage and restore the six-metre tall Buddha of Swat, depicted in a lotus position at the base of a granite cliff. Luca Maria Olivieri, an Italian archaeologist who oversaw the restoration, said the rehabilitation of the site has not been easy. He said the reconstruction is not identical, but that is deliberate, as “the idea of damage should remain visible”. The restoration started in 2012 in phases with the application of a coating to protect the damaged part of the sculpture. The reconstruction of the face itself was first prepared virtually in the laboratory, in 3D, using laser surveys and old photos. The last phase, the actual restoration of Buddha of Swat, ended in 2016. Now the authorities are counting on Buddha’s recovered smile and iconic status to boost religious tourism, he added.



Windrush scandal: 93 Indians caught in immigration row



London: As many as 93 Indians have been caught up in Britain’s ‘Windrush’ immigration scandal as the UK government on Thursday released latest figures of Commonwealth nationals caught up in the row over their citizenship rights. Ninety-three Indian nationals have been provided with documentation to formalise their rights to live and work in the UK by an emergency taskforce set up by the home office to deal with cases of migrants who arrived in the country before immigration rules became more stringent in 1973. While the majority of the 2,125 migrants’ cases solved by the taskforce were Caribbean nationals, this is the first time a picture has emerged for the number of Indians affected. “We have made it clear that it is not acceptable that those of the Windrush generation have been impacted negatively, and this government has apologised,” UK immigration minister Caroline Nokes said. “It is an important point that we must provide reassurance and ensure that as many people as possible make contact with the taskforce. That is why we have been working closely with communities to make sure it is very clear that the taskforce has an attitude of helping individuals,” she said.


The “Windrush scandal” emerged as UK-based Jamaicans faced forced deportations due to lack of documentary evidence that they had the legal right to be in Britain. “The Windrush generation refers to citizens of former British colonies who arrived before 1973, when the rights of such Commonwealth citizens to live and work in Britain were substantially curtailed. While a large proportion of them were of Jamaican/Caribbean descent, they also included Indians and other South Asians,” said Rob McNeil, deputy director of the Migration Observatory. In a letter dated July10, UK home secretary Sajid Javid informed the chair of the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee that the home office has issued documentation to 2,125 people who contacted the taskforce hotline between April and June this year, confirming Indefinite Leave to Remain or No Time Limit visas for them. Indians at 93 cases formed the third-largest group, after countries like Jamaica (1,014) and Barbados (207). The others include Grenada (88), Trinidad and Tobago (85), and 638 were from countries classified as ‘Others’. Under a Windrush Scheme launched in May, many of these applicants, their children born in the UK and those who arrived in the UK as minors are able to apply for British citizenship, or other immigration routes, free of charge.

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