News Flash – 16 January 2018

National News



Russell Market to get Security Guards, cameras, gates and streetlights



BENGALURU: Once a premier destination to buy groceries, Russell Market in Shivajinagar has fallen down the ladder, thanks largely to the filth and stench in and around the market. Now, if the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike(BBMP) has its way, the market could get a makeover. Residents and traders had complained that waste from other wards was being dumped in the market, a heritage structure. This, along with irregular garbage clearance, poor lighting and accumulation of waste from meat shops, made the market unbearably dirty. However, a recent meeting of members of the traders’ association with the BBMP’s town-planning standing committee and the solid waste management wing offers hope of a long-term solution. Shakeel Ahmed, chairman of the BBMP standing committee on town planning, said the civic agency is committed to ensuring the well-being of the market. The Palike has planned to step up security measures, improve lighting and ensure that no waste is dumped from other areas in the market. “The joint commissioner has promised that he will ensure no waste from other wards is dumped here,” Ahmed said. “We will install four gates, two each at the front and back. We will also install 15-20 LED streetlights and eight to 10 CCTV cameras to prevent dumping at odd hours”. Ahmed admitted that people from other areas like Johnson Market, Vasanth Nagar and Frazer Town were dumping waste in the market. “For a long time, waste from wards 91 (Bharathi Nagar) and 92 (Shivajinagar) was being dumped at the back of the market, making the lives of locals a hell,” he said. “We will ensure this is stopped. The budget for all the work will be around Rs 30 to 40 lakh”. For Yakub Allah Bakhash, 60, who has lived close to the back gate of the market all his life, the proposed changes are a huge relief. “The stench is unimaginable,” Bakhash said. “All meat waste is dumped here and it is not cleaned regularly. Even the pourakarmikas can’t tolerate the odour.


We keep our windows shut all year round. It is also unhygienic as it sits in the sun and rots resulting in a huge mosquito population. The devoted coming and going from the mosque and church have to cover their noses. You can get the stench at the Shivajinagar bus stand itself and even patients at Bowring Hospital are affected”. According to Mohammed Idrees Choudhury, secretary of the Russell Market trader’s association, the new facilities will solve a 30-year-old problem. “For a place that is so widely sought after by tourists, there was no protection,” Idrees said. “Waste from two wards was being dumped here and the site at the back of the market had practically become a segregation point for mixed waste. There was no way to stop the dumping since it was being done at odd hours. The BBMP’s proposal is a huge relief to people who work in the 475 shops here. From our side, we will station eight security guards to man the gates”. The ward engineer revealed that work could commence in a month’s time. Idrees claimed if the work is completed on time, the association could resume Market Day celebrations again. Market Day, usually held around Christmas, has not been celebrated since 1983. A feature that had continued from the British era, revelry from the church would spill on to the streets and traders would showcase their best wares. “Every year we used to put up a show on December 24-25,” Idrees said. “There would be a small entry fee and it would be an excuse for the vegetable, fruit, fish and mutton shop owners to bring out their best. This would be judged by the mayor and officials from the horticulture department and medals would be awarded. This is our home and we hope we will be able to celebrate it this yearend”.


TIMESVIEW: The bustle around Russell market, despite its notoriety for filth and stink, points to its immense popularity. With its imported pillars and quaint clock towers, one can only imagine what it would be if the BBMP gets its act together and ensures a thorough clean-up. The civic agency, perhaps, had the chance to do just that when a blaze gutted over a hundred shops six years ago. Typically, it missed the bus. Now that it has got all the stakeholders together on the same page, the Palike has a fine opportunity to show just how a heritage structure should be maintained.



Ease of business rules misused to cut corners on fire safety



MUMBAI: In the aftermath of last year’s December 29 blaze, Corporator are saying that the civic body’s ease of doing business initiative seems to have backfired. Following the fire at two eateries in Kamala Mills compound that killed 14 people, it has emerged that one of the resto-bar 1Above had been granted a provisional fire department’s NOC that was valid provided the proprietors complied with a list fire safety norm satisfactorily. However, having little regard for the norms the eatery continued to function, said sources. “The problem is that under the ‘ease of doing business’ initiative, the onus lies on the premises owner to comply with the conditions. We have seen that it is not happening,” a civic official said. “The applicants are not responsible enough to adhere to the conditions once they get an NOC,” he added. Currently, restaurants in the city need an NOC from the fire brigade, a shop and establishments licence and a health NOC before starting business. A civic official said that under the ease of doing business initiative, the BMC had decided to provide the provisional NOC in order to encourage new businesses.


Mumbai played a key role in setting new benchmarks for investor friendly initiatives. In the 2017 World Bank report, the country witnessed a jump in its ranking from 130 in 2016 to 100 last year. Sources said that the report into the Kamala Mills fire to be submitted by the civic chief Ajoy Mehta to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis next week may recommend a “robust” compliance system. The report may suggest a time frame that should be given to a premises following which the NOC may stand invalid. Sources said that the policy gaps, which led to failure in compliance have been studied and future steps would be suggested like strengthening the civic inspection process. Activist Anil Galgali said that it is essential that those officials who provide the NOC ensure that compliance is done as well. Leader of the opposition in the BMC Ravi Raja said that the licensing process has been relaxed under the ease of doing business initiative that many have started taking advantage of it. Bandra Corporator Asif Zakeria said that under new rules of ease of doing business the documents are expected to be uploaded online. “However after the NOCs are uploaded civic officials do not conduct the requisite site inspection. Civic officials turn a blind eye to the shortcomings of establishments,” said Zakeria.



Fog disrupts 140 flights at Bengaluru airport



BENGALURU: Early morning fog disrupted 140 flights at the Kempegowda International Airport on Sunday. The scale of disruption is the highest since early December 2017. The airport suspended operations from 4.44am to 8.25am. Seven arrivals and eight departures (of Indigo) were cancelled because of bad weather. A total of 63 departures and 54 arrivals were delayed and eight flights were diverted to either Chennai or Hyderabad. Fog had disrupted operations at the airport on New Years’ Eve, affecting 102 flights. The weather department has predicted that fog during the early hours of the day is here to stay for a few weeks more. “Fog sets in because of clear skies and no surface wind during the wee hours of the day. As the sun rises, the fog clears up too which is why many of the flights during the 4am-8am bracket face the issue of delay,” said Sundar S Metri, director, meteorological department, Bengaluru. The weatherman added that the conditions are expected to change gradually over the rest of this month and early February. “This is very behavioural of winter. Fog in the early morning is slated to occur because of the weather during the season,” Metri added.



9 killed in car-mini bus Collison in Gujarat


AHMEDABAD/RAJKOT: Nine people died in a collision of Maruti Eeco car and Mini bus near Loriya village- 23 KM from-Bhuj of Kutch district. According to police five people died on the spot while the other four died before reaching to hospital. All of the youngsters were traveling in a car. They had come to visit Ghordo in Kutch from Rajkot, Dhoraji and Jetpur. The accident took place when they were coming back from Ghordo. According to the eye witnesses the car collided with the bus when it tried to overtake a vehicle. Four people who were traveling in the bus received minor injurious and have been admitted to Bhuj hospital. According to police the dead bodies were crushed among each other’s.



International News



Papua New Guinea evacuates thousands threatened by volcano



CANBERRA (AUSTRALIA): Authorities in Papua New Guinea are evacuating thousands of people at risk of a volcanic eruption in the South Pacific Island nation’s north, the government said on Monday. Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said he had directed all relevant state resources be made available to support the evacuation of people at risk due to volcanic eruptions on Kadovar Island in the East Sepik region. He also warned northern coastal communities to be alert for possible tsunamis resulting from volcanic activity. “Volcanoes are very unpredictable. We are hearing various reports that activity has been building up and we need to take all precautions to keep our people safe,” O’Neill said in a statement. “We will not take risks with human lives. Let’s get people out of harm’s way now and constantly monitor the activity of the volcano,” he added. Flights in the area had been cancelled and shipping had been warned to stay away it was responding to the volcanic activity, he said. Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported 3,000 people were being evacuated from Biem Island, 12 kilometers (7 miles) west of Kadovar, where plumes of ash forced 700 people to evacuate in the past week. Papua New Guinea sits on the “Pacific Ring of Fire” and has frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.



Washington DC subway train derails, no injuries reported



WASHINGTON: A Washington DC subway train derailed early Monday, but none of the 60 passengers aboard were injured, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority said. Around 6:40 a.m. (1140 GMT), a train derailed outside Farragut North Station in downtown Washington. The agency said in a posting on Twitter that “emergency personnel on scene. Shuttle buses are running in place of trains, both directions”.



Plane skids off runway in northern Turkey; stuck in mud

A Boeing 737-800 of Turkey’s Pegasus Airlines after skidding off the runway downhill towards the sea at the airport in Trabzon, Turkey.



ISTANBUL: An airplane skidded off the runway on Sunday after landing in the Turkish province of Trabzon, causing panic among the passengers. Trabzon Gov. Yucel Yavuz said all 162 passengers and crew on board were evacuated and safe early Sunday. Yavuz said the cause of the accident was not yet known and the airport closed until 8am local (05.00 GMT). Private Pegasus Airlines’ Boeing 737-800 departed from Ankara late Saturday. Photographs from the scene showed the plane stuck in mud.



Baghdad twin suicide bombing kills 31



BAGHDAD: Iraq‘s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi called for the elimination of jihadist “sleeper cells” Monday after a twin suicide bombing killed 31 people in Baghdad in the second such attack in three days. There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but most such attacks in Iraq are the work of the Islamic State jihadist group. The bombing comes after Abadi’s government declared victory over IS in December and as the country gears up for parliamentary elections. “Two suicide bombers blew themselves up in Tayyaran Square in central Baghdad,” said General Saad Maan, spokesman for the Joint Operations Command, which includes the army and police. A police officer reported, “31 dead and 94 wounded”. Tayyaran Square is a bustling commercial centre and a place where day labourers gather in the early morning waiting for jobs. It has been the site of deadly attacks in the past. Iraqi analyst Hisham al-Hashemi said attacks at the square since 2011 have killed 180 people, “often in the run-up to elections or just after the polls”. They aim to “create chaos and exacerbate sectarian divisions,” he said. Security forces cordoned off the scene of the blasts as ambulances gathered in the area, an AFP journalist said. Abadi held an emergency meeting with the Joint Operations Command and intelligence officials after the attack, his office said, asking them to “eliminate IS sleeper cells” and ensure the security of civilians. Analysts have warned that IS would increasingly turn to such tactics as it was pushed underground after losing territory spanning the Iraq-Syria border. Just hours after the first attack, another bombing in the east of Baghdad killed one person and wounded three, the police officer said.


Attacks increased in Baghdad after the start in 2016 of a battle to retake second city Mosul from IS. Iraqi forces retook the northern city in July last year. In December, the government announced the “end of the war” against IS, which has been expelled from the Baghdad region and urban areas of Iraq that it controlled. Jihadist elements are still active, however. On Saturday, a suicide bomb attack near a security checkpoint killed at least five people in northern Baghdad. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for that bombing. The bombings come as Iraq gears up for elections in May, with voters deeply concerned about security in a country wracked by violence since the 2003 US-led invasion. On Sunday, Abadi said he would stand for re-election in the parliamentary polls as the head of a new coalition. Abadi’s newly created “Victory Alliance” will compete against the “State of Law” bloc of Nuri al-Maliki, his predecessor and a key rival who now holds the post of vice president. Both Abadi and Maliki are members of the Shiite Dawa party. Abadi was little known when he became premier three years ago, after Maliki ceded power to him in August 2014 amid IS’s sweeping offensive across the country. Since taking over, Abadi has also rebuilt the armed forces and taken back disputed areas in the north from the Kurds, dashing their hopes for independence. He succeeded in convincing the Hashed al-Shaabi, a Shiite-dominated paramilitary force that helped fight IS, to join his “Victory Alliance”. The Hashed, or Popular Mobilisation Units, are now seeking to become a key political player in Iraq after proving to be a formidable force on the battlefield. In November, IS claimed an attack by suicide bombers on a market on the outskirts of Baghdad that killed 11 people.

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