News Flash – 13 September 2017

National News



Four techies killed, 3 hurt as car rams into bus on Mumbai-Nashik highway

Police inspect the wreckage of a SUV after an accident on Mumbai-Nashik highway in Bhiwandi.



BHIWANDI: Four persons died and three were injured after their speeding car jumped the divider and dashed into a Thane Municipal Transport bus near Mankoli, on the Mumbai-Nashik highway on Tuesday morning. Narpoli police said seven people were travelling in a five-seater Honda City. A preliminary probe revealed the driver lost control and rammed into a divider and hit a TMT bus coming from opposite direction, killing four on the spot. The deceased were identified as Neeraj Panchal (23), Vikrant Singh (24), Mihir Uttekar (23), Neerav Mehta (23). The injured were identified as Vaibhav Chedha (24), Ramesh Patel (22), Santosh Mishra (24). Chedha and Patel who suffered serious injuries were admitted to JJ Hospital while Mishra, who suffered minor injuries, was admitted to Samta Hospital in Dombivli. All seven worked as engineers in a Kurla-based IT company. On Monday night they had gone to a common friend’s residence in Dombivli to celebrate Panchal’s birthday. They stayed overnight at the friend’s place and left next morning for office. Around 10.30am, the car reached Mankoli naka on the Mumbai-Nashik highway where it went out of control and hit the divider, crossing the road to then hit a TMT bus coming from Thane towards Bhiwandi.


Vijay Bhise, a police inspector who was on his way to work witnessed the incident. “On seeing the accident I immediately informed the Narpoli police and with help from locals rushed the injured and deceased in private cars to Thane civil hospital,” he said. The civil hospital staff said the youngsters had severe head injuries and were bleeding profusely all over the face. Pandarinath Bhalerao, inspector from Narpoli, said, “The primary probe shows the car was in full speed and lost control. A case of rash driving and negligence causing death has been registered against the deceased Singh, who was driving the car”. A relative of one of the victims said, “To Neeraj Panchal’s birthday at midnight on Monday, the four youngsters visited a friend’s house in Dombivli. By the time their party was over it was quite late, so they crashed at the same place for the night. In the morning, they decided to go directly to office from there. The birthday had started off in a joyful way but ended up as a nightmare for all”.



PWD to push for Mehrauli plan to ease up NCR traffic



NEW DELHI: The public works department (PWD) is trying to revive the Mehrauli-Badarpur corridor project to tackle the ever increasing traffic volume on Outer Ring Road. Conceived in 2013-14, the project has been stuck due to technical reasons and lack of coordination among various government agencies. PWD will raise the issue in a meeting called by Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday to decongest Delhi. Officials said the project was crucial for better intercity connectivity in the national capital region (NCR) and to take the load off Outer Ring Road. It will bring down the travel time between Gurgaon and several parts of south Delhi/Noida/Faridabad considerably, they added. As the last corridor connecting Mathura Road to Mehrauli-Gurgaon Road, a 4.2km-long elevated corridor has been proposed between Ignou Road and Batra Hospital while another flyover, 1.5-2km in length, is to come up between Ma Anandmayee Marg intersection and Badarpur underpass. An underpass has been proposed close to Tughlaqabad Fort. The agency submitted the proposal along with three options to UTTIPEC in 2014-15. PWD officials said the underpass and the two flyovers had been proposed to decongest the 11km-long corridor as at-grade improvement was not possible due to lack of space. “But it is yet to be approved as clearance from other agencies is awaited,” said an official.


A meeting was held in June this year to discuss the project where ASI officials turned down the underpass proposal, citing the 100-metre rule protecting heritage structures, PWD officials said. “There is hardly any road space near the fort. But the underpass has been planned very close to a wall, which, ASI says, is protected,” said a PWD official. According to a survey carried out by a consultant before the proposal was drafted, the peak hour traffic on this stretch is 7,000-8,000 passenger car units. At 10-30km/hour, the peak hour traffic almost crawls due to various factors like encroachment on road, high pedestrian-traffic interaction and uneven road width. The congestion on this corridor usually have ripple effects on arterial roads like Aurobindo Marg, Press Enclave road, Lal Bahadur Shastri Marg and Outer Ring Road. “The new facilities will let vehicles move faster and at-grade corridor improvement will facilitate pedestrian movement. At present, the intercity traffic mainly uses Outer Ring Road. This road can also ease traffic movement on nearby arterial roads,” said an official. DMRC’s Phase IV will also pass through this corridor. PWD officials said the proposal would incorporate the Metro alignment.



Heavy vehicles, private buses can’t ply in south Mumbai for 17 hours a day



MUMBAI: Traffic police have restricted plying of heavy vehicles and private buses in south Mumbai for nearly 17 hours every day. In the rest of the city (Greater Mumbai), these vehicles are forbidden to ply for around nine hours. Officials said the restrictions are being issued on an experimental basis for two months. The order has come due to obstruction caused to traffic flow in the wake of ongoing projects such as Metro as well as the steep rise in the volume of vehicles on streets. “All heavy vehicles and private buses carrying passengers are restricted to enter and ply on south Mumbai roads from 7am to midnight. They can ply from 1am to 6.59am,” said DCP Saurabh Tripathi in his order. Vehicles coming to south Mumbai will be allowed only up to specific locations between 11am and 5pm (see box). On Eastern Freeway , all heavy vehicles (except all types of buses) are restricted for all 24 hours. In Greater Mumbai, heavy vehicles and private buses transporting passengers are restricted from entry and plying between 7am and 11am and again between 5pm and 10pm.



Vehicles exempted are ST buses, BEST buses, school buses, buses of Mumbai Darshan, buses carrying employees of companies, vehicles providing essential services such as milk, bread, vegetables, bakery products, drinking water, petrol, diesel, kerosene, ambulances, fire brigade vehicles, police vehicles, government and semi-government vehicles. Prasanna Patwardhan of Bus Operators Confederation of India said, “We will move court against this decision. There are no point blaming buses; they do not ham per traffic. The move will force people to take private vehicles or cabs, whose per person occupancy is less. This will cause further congestion”. Harsh Kotak, general secretary of Mumbai Bus Malak Sangathna said, “Around 1,000 buses enter Mumbai every day, of which 300 go to south Mumbai. Road space occupied in the city by buses is less compared to cars”.



7 reasons why Bengaluru got flooded

Bangalore city development minister K J George walking through a flooded road after heavy rains in at Thani sandra, in Bangalore.


BENGALURU: Apart from the havoc created by the rain gods, with downpour of as much as 124.5 mm in a span of four hours earlier last week, which hurt citizens in large parts of Bengaluru, city development minister K J George outlined the basic assessment of why the city was inundated.



* One of the worst affected areas last week was the ST Bed area in Koramangala 4th block. According to George, the storm water drain (SWD) in the area was cemented and blocked, leading water flowing back on to the streets. Efforts are being made to open it.


* Ironic as it may sound, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has been identified as a major encroacher of the very SWD it needs to protect on JC Road. Minister K J George said a multistoried BBMP building in Kumbhara Gundi Road has encroached upon a SWD in the vicinity leading to widespread waterlogging in the vicinity. George said even the HC had taken cognizance of the matter and has asked the Palike and government to do a basic evaluation of the building before demolishing it.


* Further, with JC Road clogging with water and traffic, the state is re-igniting the proposal to have a flyover along J C Road to ease traffic congestions and allowing smooth sailing of vehicles to avoid commuters getting stuck in rains.


* One of the busiest bus stands in the city, Shanthinagar Bus stand has also encroached upon a SWD. Minister George said the government is working on a SWD design and create a diversion for the rain water to flow through unabated.


* In HSR layout, the closing of the SWD has stopped the rain water being released into the Madivala lake. It is said there is an on-going dispute between the forest department and the BBMP as the former has got control of the lake and is bound by a national green tribunal (NGT) order to avoid SWD water being released into the lake without treatment.


* The Arakere lake on Bannerghatta road is under dispute over encroachments, with a private party having approached the high court over 8 acres of the lake bed being wrested out of the state control. As a result, water from the SWD has not been released into the lake and resulting into heavy water logging on the busy Bannerghatta stretch.


* These apart, the government has also listed the incomplete works on the 842 kilometres long SWD in the city, that has been pending over the last eight years. The state claims it has now released Rs 300 crore for the purpose of completing the works are allowing continuous flow of rain water, with water bodies interconnected.



SOS from mishap victim in Riyadh



CHARMINAR: An accident victim from Hyderabad has appealed to the Indian government seeking medical assistance in Riyadh. According to details, Muzaffar Shaik Ahmed, 26, a resident of Jhanuma met with an accident on September 3 at Aflaj in Riyadh and was seriously wounded. Worried parents told TOI that Ahmed is presently being treated at the King Salman Hospital but his health condition is deteriorating due to lack of medical facilities in that hospital. His brother, Shaik Munawar, said that Ahmed was in dire need for help. “We have learned that the hospital does not have sufficient equipment and medical facilities, which is adding to the woes of my brother. I want my brother to be shifted to some other hospital so that he can avail of better treatment,” Munawar said. According to his friends, Ahmed who works as a sales executive in Riyadh fractured his spinal cord and injured his legs in the accident. “His friends sent us his pictures through which we came to know that the hospital authorities are not paying enough attention to him. I, therefore, sincerely appeal the external affairs ministry and the Saudi government to attend to my son’s condition and ensure that better medical facilities are made available to him,” said the victim’s father, Shaik Ahmed. AAP leader Syed Mohsin said that the youth was not being treated properly despite the lapse of a week and that he was showing no sign of improvement.



Gang of nine on bus thrashes conductor, assaults women



KOLKATA: A group of nine men and teenagers terrorized a bus full of passengers after they threatened, intimidated and finally assaulted two female passengers and the conductor of a private bus in south Kolkata after they protested against their unruly behaviour. The incident took place between Deshapriya Park and Kalighat — believed to be among the most secure zones in the city — late on Monday evening. But for the exemplary courage shown by a 48-year-old school teacher and her 23-year-old daughter — a dancer by profession — the incident could have ended on a more violent note, admitted cops. The Tollygunge police registered a case on the basis of the complaint of the mother. “19-year-old Shoaib Ahmed — who has a cellphone repairing job and is a resident of Mominpore Road, was arrested. His brother, a 15-year-old who reportedly led the attack, has been apprehended and his parents asked to visit the juvenile justice board,” said an officer. Police have slapped cases under IPC sections 354 (molestation), 341 (wrongful restraint), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 114 (abettor present when offence was committed). According to the 23-year-old Braveheart, the mother-daughter duo had boarded the bus on route 3C/1, plying between Anandapur and Nagerbazar, from Gariahat crossing. “We had completed our Puja shopping and boarded the bus around 9.30pm. As the bus neared the Deshapriya Park crossing, nine young men — all of them dressed in black and white (except one wearing a red T-shirt) and donning black caps — boarded the bus.



While five of them stood on the bus footboard, the rest stood blocking the entrance,” recalled the woman. The women said initially, the conductor politely asked the young men to leave the footboard and get inside the bus. “All of them refused, saying it was ‘too hot inside’. When the bus crossed Lake Market, the conductor asked the driver to stop the bus and asked all of them to get off the bus. One of the men grabbed the conductor by his shirt collar and punched him. They rained blows on him. The driver panicked and drove the bus to the Rashbehari crossing looking for cops,” said the woman. Most passengers — save one journalist who called up the cops — opened the emergency exit gate and fled. Meanwhile, the driver turned towards Kalighat and brought the bus to a stop. “One of the youths pulled me by my hand and flung me to the floor of the bus. The journalist and two locals helped nab one of the accused from the spot who was handed over to the police,” said the dancer. Cops said searches are being carried out in Mominpore and Ekbalpore areas for the rest of the accused.



Ten children rescued from unlicensed orphanage near Chennai



CHENNAI: Ten children rescued from an unlicensed orphanage at Tharapakkam near Kundrathur on the outskirts of Chennai were produced before the Child Welfare Committee in Kancheepuram on Monday night. Earlier this month, following a tip-off, CWC members conducted a surprise inspection of the children’s home run by Shirdi Sai Trust. “But by the time we reached, the children were taken away. We just found three elderly people in the home,” said CWC member Zahiruddin Mohammed. A complaint was lodged in the nearest police station. On Monday, police rescued ten children from the caretakers and presented them before the CWC. The children were aged between 5 and 11 years and included two girls. The administrators of the orphanage had no documents on how they had got these children or details of their families. The children were referred to a government children’s home in Kancheepuram.



International News



After Irma, a mixed journey home for Florida evacuees


ORLANDO: After fleeing homes in Hurricane Irma‘s path several days ago, Florida residents Lee Tinkler and Mercedes Lopez on Tuesday faced far different prospects as they departed from the Orlando hotels where they sought refuge. Tinkler, a retiree from Jupiter, Florida, said she was about to end “the best experience of my life” after waiting out the storm at a high-end convention hotel with her two daughters, their two babies and seven cats. But at a nearby Days Inn, Lopez’s spirits were low as she shared a bucket of fried chicken with four families from the Florida Keys bunking together in two cramped rooms. They were returning to salvage belongings from destroyed homes. “I don’t have a house, I don’t have a job,” said Lopez, 50, who works for a gas station that was also devastated. “We go back to nothing”. They are part of a complicated return home after the largest evacuation in US history which saw 6.5 million people flee the storm in Florida. After surviving what began as one of the fiercest Atlantic storms in a century, many are returning with conflicting emotions. The relief of going home is at times overwhelmed by the logistics of the trip and then putting their pre-storm lives back together. On social media, travelers traded advice on how to avoid the chaotic scenes many experienced on the way out: long lines for gasoline and traffic so bad that people slept in their cars.


Hoping to avoid such congestion, Cathy Bobal, a 59-year-old retiree from Coconut Creek, Florida, decided on Tuesday to spend a fifth night in Orlando before leaving at 3am. As she arranged her check-out from the Rosen Center, which reduced rates and waived pet and parking fees for evacuees, others were checking in. “It’s round two,” she said. “People are coming in because they don’t have power”. Tinkler, 73, left with plans to return the next time a hurricane menaced her home. “I want to live in this world forever,” she said, envisioning disaster reunions with the other guests. “We had a party”. Across town, the group from Marathon, Florida, was ending five nights at Days Inn not knowing whether authorities would even allow them back into their homes. “It’s a total disaster. Our house was destroyed. I’ve seen the pictures,” said Heidi Hernandez, 23, a school teacher. “We’re going down there to salvage what we can and then come back up”.



Militants attack convoy in Egypt, kill 5 policemen



EL-ARISH, EGYPT: Suspected militants on Monday ambushed a police convoy in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, killing five policemen and wounding three others, including a police brigadier-general, according to security and military officials. The police and military officials said the attack began with the detonation of roadside bombs that destroyed and set ablaze three armored vehicles and a fourth one carrying signal jamming equipment. The gunmen later opened fire with machine guns and commandeered a police pickup truck. The attack took place about 30 kilometers (20 miles) west of el-Arish in northern Sinai, the epicenter of a long-running insurgency by militants now led by the extremist Islamic State group. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.



UN says 370,000 Rohingya flee Myanmar for Bangladesh



COX’s BAZAR: Some 370,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar and entered Bangladesh since an upsurge in violence late last month, the United Nations said today. “An estimated 370,000 Rohingya have entered Bangladesh after fleeing violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state since August 25,” Joseph Tripura, a spokesman for the UN refugee agency, told AFP. The true figure could be even higher as many new arrivals are still on the move and staying by the roadside, making it difficult to include them in the counting, the UN said. It attributed the overnight jump from Monday’s figure of 313,000 to the large numbers now moving off the roadside and into informal camps, where they can be counted more easily. Attacks by Rohingya militants on Myanmar security forces in Rakhine on August 25 sparked harsh military reprisals and an exodus across the border to southeast Bangladesh. The Muslim Rohingya minority community has long been subjected to discrimination in mostly Buddhist Myanmar, which denies them citizenship. Refugee camps and makeshift settlements in Bangladesh near the border with Myanmar already hosted at least 300,000 Rohingya before the latest upsurge in violence, and are now completely overwhelmed. That has left tens of thousands of new arrivals with nowhere to shelter from the monsoon rains. Most have walked for days and aid workers say many are sick, exhausted and in desperate need of shelter, food and water.

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