News Flash – 20 December 2019

National News



ATM Cash Van Driver Steals Rs.52 Lakhs



Chennai: A driver of a cash management firm escaped with Rs.52 lakhs while his van was at an ATM in Velachery to fill cash on Thursday night. Police have launched a search for the driver. Four employees of the cash management firm were assigned to fill cash at ATM centres in city. They filled cash in at least five ATMs starting from Teynampet and reached Vijayanagar First Main Road in Velachery. Three employees got off the van and went inside the ATM kiosk, while the driver Ambrose stayed in the vehicle, with Rs.52 lakhs in it. When the trio returned, they found the van missing and Ambrose’s phone was switched off.



Tragedy Averted after MLA’s Luxury Car Skids Off Bridge onto Railway Tracks


Thane/Kalyan: An alert local and a railway staffer helped avert a major tragedy on Wednesday night after a ‘speeding’ Ford Mustang owned by MNS’ Kalyan MLA Pramod Patil fell off a bridge and landed on the railway tracks, right in the path of oncoming outstation trains at Nilje village, near Shilphata, Dombivli. The driver, Khadir Inamdar, who was stuck in the vehicle was rescued by locals and a few passers-by. He survived as the air bags had deployed, arresting the impact of the fall. Panicking and fearing an assault, he fled and approached Manpada police. He told cops that he lost control of the car while trying to dodge potholes and a truck, hurtled down the incline and landed upside down on the tracks. While the local alerted the police about the mishap, the railway employee passing by spotted the car on the tracks and informed his seniors, who halted all rail traffic on the stretch. The stranded vehicle was later moved away from the tracks and the line cleared post a safety inspection. MLA Pramod Patil, in his affidavit, said the car was worth Rs 92 lakh Train stopped a km from red Mustang on tracks The RPF has booked the driver under the Indian Railways Act. Manpada police said the incident occurred around 10.45pm when Inamdar was returning after dropping off a relative at Dombivli. “He was ascending the bridge when he spotted a pothole and tried to dodge it. However, on spotting a truck in front, he panicked and lost control of the vehicle, hitting the bridge railing and tumbling down,” a police official said.



A large crowd had gathered at the spot when railway trackman Padmakar Shelar, who was on his way to work at Niljhe station, was passing by. Shelar initially thought someone had been run over, but on finding the car on the Down line tracks, he alerted his bosses. They informed the main control room, which sent messages to halt traffic on the section and switch off power supply. “The Ernakulam-Delhi Duronto, Mangalore Express, Diva passenger and Konkan Kanya Express which were scheduled to pass the stretch were halted. One of the trains was barely a km away when the signals suddenly turned red and it was stopped to avoid a collision,” a police official said. Sub-inspector Maruti Andhale of Manadapa police station said a resident had called up the police emergency number after which a team reached the spot and contacted Niljhe and Diva railway officials. Police later summoned a crane to move out the mangled car. After the tracks were cleared, railway officials inspected the two lines and permitted traffic to resume by 12.35am, said Shivaji Sutar, chief PRO, Central Railway. Senior inspector D K Choure said they had not registered a case as there was no loss of life or injury. But Ashraf K K, senior divisional security commissioner of CR’s Mumbai division, said they had booked the driver under sections 154 and 174 of Indian Railways Act.



First ‘Cold Wave’ in Kolkata Since 2013 May Pull Mercury Below 10.5°C Today


Kolkata: A sharp chill descended on the city on Thursday even as the minimum temperature continued its southward slide, touching 11.7 degrees Celsius — the lowest of the season so far. Since Tuesday, the temperature has dipped seven degrees and the plunge could continue. The teeth-clattering chill is set to intensify, according to the Met office, which has predicted that a cold-wave condition will prevail in Kolkata on Friday with the mercury likely to dip below 10.5 degrees. This could be the first cold wave in Kolkata since 2013. The icy northwesterly wind, that brought the mercury down to 15.4 on Wednesday, not only persisted through the day but gained speed, intensifying the chill. “It blew at a speed between 15 km/hr and 20 km/hr that helped to sustain the cold spell. The wind will continue on Friday and is set to pull the mercury down to around 10.4 degrees. If that happens, Kolkata will experience a cold wave for the first since 2013,” said Regional Meteorological Centre (RMC) director GK Das. The minimum temperature has to drop 4.5 degrees below normal and must be less than 10.5 degrees Celsius for a cold wave to set in. Thursday was the second coldest December day in Kolkata in at least five years. The last time the city had recorded a lower temperature in December was in 2018 when the mercury touched 10.6 degrees.



The pre-Christmas chill will continue through the weekend, though the mercury may rise by a degree on Saturday. But the chilly spell is unlikely to be broken before Monday. “Since there will be no let-up in the northwesterly breeze, it will remain cold,” said Das. Along with Kolkata, cold-wave conditions are likely to set in across Bankura, Midnapore, Purulia, Nadia, Murshidabad and Birbhum on Friday. The seven-degree dip in 48 hours is also the sharpest in recent years, said weathermen. “It will touch almost nine degrees in 72 hours if the mercury dips below 10.5 on Friday. There could be an upward swing of the mercury from Monday, though. But this cold spell is set to be an intense one which is not very common during December in Kolkata,” said a weather scientist. Cold waves have traditionally occurred in Kolkata in January. “Generally, early January is the coldest period in Kolkata and the mercury rarely falls below 10.5 degrees in December. It is the uninterrupted flow of the northwesterly that has brought in this early chill,” said Das. The maximum temperature, too, dropped four degrees below normal to 22.5 degrees on Thursday. It is set to persist between 22 and 24 degrees till the weekend which will keep the afternoons chilly.



International News



Oz’s Most Populous State Declares Wildfire Emergency


Australia: Australia’s most populous state of New South Wales declared a seven-day state of emergency on Thursday as oppressive conditions fanned around 100 wildfires. Around 2,000 firefighters were battling the blazes, half of which remain uncontrolled, with the support of US and Canadian backup teams and personnel from the Australian Defence Force.

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