News Flash – 20 August 2019

National News



Boy held for Attempt to Burgle ATM



Chennai: A juvenile was caught red handed by police while trying to steal cash from an ATM kiosk in Chengalpet on Sunday night. The incident came to light at around 7 a.m. when a few passers-by found the ATM machine near Singaperumal temple being tampered by a teenager. They alerted the police who reached the spot. On seeing the cops, the boy pretended to withdraw cash. The police upon inspection, found the machine dislodged and the power cables to two surveillance cameras cut off. However, no cash had been stolen. Police said that the cameras’ footage, along with those captured by the CCTV cameras installed nearby, would soon be examined to find whether any other person was involved. Police said that the boy had targeted the ATM kiosk since it was not guarded. A forensic team recorded fingerprints and other evidence from the spot. The boy was sent to a correctional facility at Chengalpet.



Phone Theft Highest on Wadala-GTB Line


Mumbai: Standing on the footboard of a local train is always dangerous, but between GTB Nagar and Wadala stations on the Harbour Line, it can be positively fatal. The stretch has been identified as one where train commuters are most prone to attacks from fatka robbers—criminals who climb poles along tracks and land blows on commuters to steal their cellphones or bags. As per data released by the GRP on Monday, 281 fatka attacks were registered on all three suburban lines of Central Railway in the first six months of the year. Of these, the maximum occurred in the jurisdiction of the Wadala GRP—52 cases, of which 25 were in the GTB-Wadala stretch. Other vulnerable stretches under Wadala GRP are Kings Circle-Wadala (12 cases) and Sewri-Wadala (7). The GRP jurisdictions with the next highest cases are Kalyan (50) and Thane (42). In all, 56 such dangerous stretches have been identified on CR, with the most being on Harbour Line. What explains Harbour’s susceptibility to fatka robbers? “On Harbour, which is a slow corridor, there are stretches were trains move very slowly because of track curvature.



This enables fatka robbers to mount attacks with a clear aim,” explained an RPF official. “The attacks usually come after sundown, but some robbers are brazen enough to operate in broad daylight”. A fatka attack, if not fatal, often results in permanent injury. Early last year, Kalyan resident Dravita Singh was attacked by a fatka robber near Sandhurst Road station. She took a hit on the head, lost her balance and fell off the train. While she partly lay on the opposite tracks, dazed, an oncoming train crushed the fingers on her left hand and her right foot. CR is now planning watch towers along fatka-prone stretches, for which it has selected Ambivli and Shahad as a pilot project. “The towers there will be ready in a month. If this proves successful, we will put such towers at other locations, depending on availability of land”.



2,000 Stranded in Lahaul as HP, Uttarakhand Reel under Flash Floods

The IAF rescued four fishermen stranded on an under-construction bridge across the swollen Tawi river in Jammu on Monday.



HP: The flash floods in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh have claimed 36 lives since Sunday, with rescue teams recovering 11 bodies in Uttarkashi on Monday. Eight people are still missing in the district. In HP, the toll rose to 25 even as rains continued to batter the hill state, leaving over 2,000 people, mostly tourists, stranded at Lahaul-Spiti. People have taken refuge in hotels, guesthouses and homestays in Sissu and nearby villages. Nearly 40 Ladakh-bound Army vehicles too are stuck near Sissu.



Uttarakhand Village Destroyed within Minutes, Vehicles Stuck in Lahaul



Uttarakhand: Sohan Lal, 52, is still to overcome the trauma of watching his 10-month-old grandson being swept away by an overflowing rivulet following incessant rains in Uttarkashi on Sunday. He could save his wife and daughter-in-law. The family spent the night on a school terrace. From a family that vanished in the flash floods to a survivor using bamboos to come out of a four-wheeler that was washed away minutes later; from a village getting submerged to a brother running from hospital to hospital in search of his missing siblings tales of sorrow are floating across Mori block of Uttarkashi that was devastated by flash floods on Sunday. “It happened in a flash. I shouted to my wife and daughter-in-law to run out of the house and held my grandson in my hand. But I slipped while running and couldn’t hold him and he got drowned in the river,” Sohan Lal, recuperating at a hospital in Dehradun told TOI. He said that the cloud burst took place around 9am on Sunday and his entire village, Arakot, turned into debris within minutes. So far, 36 people have lost their lives in flash floods and landslides in the two hill states since Sunday.



Meanwhile, heavy rains again battered Himachal on Monday, two days after landslides and floods blocked the Manali-Leh and Manali-Spiti highways at multiple places. HP chief minister Jai Ram Thakur said the toll caused by torrential rains had risen to 25 in the last two days. He released Rs 15 crore for restoration of damaged infrastructure, especially roads and water and electricity supplies. Thakur has ordered that debris and blockages from major national highways such as Kalka-Shimla and Pathankot-Mandi-Manali be cleared at the earliest. The Kullu-Mandi highway was opened to one-way traffic on Monday evening but the Mandi-Chandigarh stretch of the highway was still blocked. Over 1,000 people and 400 vehicles are stuck between Sissu and Koksar in Lahaul. Over 300 tourists are stranded between Gramphu and Kaza and the Manali-Leh highway too has been damaged at many places. After 127 tourists got stranded at the high-altitude lake Chandratal due to landslides and snowfall, they were rescued on Monday and shifted to Kaza. However, Kaza-Shimla and Kaza-Manali roads were blocked too. Col Uma Shankar, commander of 38 Border Road Task Force, said it would take two-three days to restore traffic on the Manali-Kaza road. Meanwhile, the Punjab government on Monday declared the current flood situation in the affected villages of the state as a natural calamity.



Yamuna above Danger Mark, set to rise till Wednesday Morning

Yamuna waters enter houses in Yamuna Bazar area of Delhi. The river water level is expected to touch 207m by Wednesday before receding.



New Delhi: The Yamuna crossed the danger mark in the capital on Monday, inundating farms and shanties in the floodplains, as the city government evacuated some 10,000 people to safety and geared up to shift 13,000 more following the highest-ever discharge of water from the Hathnikund barrage in Haryana. Water level in the Yamuna is expected to continue rising through Tuesday and touch 207 metre by Wednesday morning before beginning to recede. The danger mark stands at 205.33m. It was recently revised upwards from the earlier level of 204.83m. If the official projections come true, this will be only the third time since the devastating floods of 1978 that the Yamuna will cross the 207m mark. The two other occasions were in 2010 and 2013, the year of the Kedarnath deluge. In 1978, water had risen to its highest ever level of 207.49m Authorities said, unlike in 1978, there is no danger of the Yamuna breaching its embankments. Currently, the river is flowing well within its embankments and, like in June 2013 and September 2010 when the Yamuna had crossed the 207m mark, there’s no danger of a breach, officials said. In 2013, Haryana had released 8.1 lakh cusecs of water that had resulted in raising the water level to 207.3m. On Sunday, Haryana released 8.3 lakh cusecs, which is the highest till date, due to heavy rain in upstream areas of Uttarakhand. This water is expected to hit Delhi by Wednesday morning. More water was released into Yamuna in a staggered manner through the day on Monday but that was described as normal by the authorities here. Yamuna was flowing at 205.5m at 8pm on Monday. After CM Arvind Kejriwal issued directions at a high-level meeting, authorities evacuated over 10,000 people from different locations in East, North East, North, Shahdara, South East, and Central districts. These people were put up in tents pitched by the government. Around 23,000 people are required to be evacuated as the water level rises.



“Many people refused to be relocated to the tents since the water is still away from their shanties. An alert is being consistently sounded along the river. The water level is being monitored along with the condition of the flood in different locations inhabited by people,” said a government official. K Mahesh, DM of East district, where a large number of people were affected, said he had deployed SDMs, district administration officials, civil defense volunteers, district disaster management authority personnel besides divers and mechanised boats at sensitive locations in the district. Similar arrangements have been made in other districts too. A total of 53 boats are ready for rescue operations and 30 boats have been already placed at 30 locations, where higher impact of the flood is anticipated. Many people living on the Yamuna banks near ITO, under the Old Yamuna Bridge (popularly known as Loha Pul), Mayur Vihar and other areas appeared unperturbed by the rising level of water. “Some people refused to leave because they know swimming,” said an official who added that many of the tents were vacant.



“People gathered when food was distributed and later vanished into their makeshift homes in the floodplain,” the official added. The government has asked the authorities to distribute foods in the tents three times every day. In 1978, flood waters had submerged several upscale localities in north Delhi and affected hundreds of thousands of people. Since then, however, embankments in the city have been considerably beefed up. Requesting residents not to panic, Kejriwal appealed to the people staying in the floodplain to evacuate and shift to the tents set up by the government on both the sides of the river. The government has set up 2,120 tents which have facilities like electricity, water, food and toilets. Delhi government has also set up an emergency contact number 011-22421656. The Preet Vihar SDM is the nodal officer of the control room, who can be contacted at 011-21210849. “The next two days are very crucial. We are monitoring the situation,” Kejriwal said, adding that the Delhi government is coordinating with the central government and the LG office and all agencies concerned.

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