News Flash – 25 October 2017

National News



Panic after six train coaches get detached



MUMBAI: Six coaches packed with commuters got detached from a 12-car train on its way to Panvel from Thane on the Trans-Harbour corridor on Tuesday, causing panic among passengers and Central Railway officials. The incident occurred at Ghansoli at 4.17 pm when the train was about to pull out of the station. The train was taken to the yard and services restored at 6 pm. Fortunately, the decoupling did not lead to any injury and caused only disruption in service. “The bolt of the coupler broke and prima facie there seems to be material failure. The bolt was inspected at the Matunga workshop in March 2016, but it might not have been done properly,” said a source. The incident took place on a retrofitted rake. “It has already been decided that retrofitted rakes will be phased out in the next two years as and when we get newer rakes,” a source said. While such incidents can lead to derailment, a CR official ruled out the possibility in this particular case. “In this case, the bolt broke, but there was no damage to the brake pipe as the train had not even moved two feet. If the brake pipe had broken, the braking would have automatically got applied”.


If the coupler breaks, the train can witness parting and abrupt braking, which can lead to unexpected jolts in the coach, causing passengers to fall off. Fortunately, no such untoward incident took place. A similar incident had taken place on February 9, 2014 at Diva, but in that case the bar of the Schaku coupler snapped. Schaku couplers are the most advanced and best in the world. Its failure had come as a shock to authorities. A bar with holes at the inner ends through which cars are connected with a bolt is called a coupler. On March 20, 2014, one passenger died and 23 were injured after a CST-bound train derailed near Titwala station. Railway team to inspect Nagercoil Express that lost wheel parts near Khandala. A Southern Railway team is on its way to inspect the Nagercoil Express coach after a bolster plank came off near Khandala on Sunday. The train’s general coach had to be detached before the train was allowed to proceed to its destination. A senior railway official said, “We do not know the exact reason for such an incident. One possibility is the rake could have been hit by an outside object. However, our personnel searched the entire area but could not spot anything.” The coach was manufactured in 2016 and it was not due for maintenance too. He said, “The parts that fell off will be sent for metallurgical test”.



Over 70 shops at Kamla market gutted



NEW DELHI: Over 70 shops were gutted and property worth several crores of rupees was destroyed in a major fire that broke out in central Delhi’s Kamla Market on Tuesday. Most of the shops were those of coolers and geysers. Shopkeepers said that the fire broke out after a short circuit and that even after making multiple calls, only one fire tender reached and that too after over half an hour. Police officers confirmed that nobody was injured in the incident. Fire officials said that soon after the call was received at 1am, a few fire tenders were sent to the spot. It was, however, not doused until the next one hour, after which more fire tenders were sent. The fire was brought under control by 5.10am on Tuesday and cooling operations went on till late afternoon.


“Many daily wage workers used to cook food on electric heaters using illegal wires near the market. According to the preliminary ground reports, sparking may have occurred due to that. We are investigating the incident,” said a senior BYPL official. The president of the market association, Pradeep Bhatia, said that only one fire tender reached them and that too almost an hour after the incident took place. A senior fire official denied the same, saying that 10 fire tenders were sent to the spot soon after they received a call about the fire from a local. There was havoc in the area after the flames started to rise, and even after repeated calls, there was no fire tender to their rescue, shopkeepers said. Locals from the area said that whoever got to know about the fire informed others and by 1.30 am, all the shopkeepers had gathered outside their respective shops, trying to take out whatever items they could, but not many were successful.



Western Railway may get 1,700 CCTVs with ‘crowd alarm’ system



MUMBAI: A multi-disciplinary audit committee for Western Railway has, among things, recommended that CCTVs be more than doubled and the new ones must come with video analytic features such as face recognition and an alarm system in case of overcrowding and attempt to cross tracks on either end of a platform. The panel has suggested that CCTVs be increased to 2,729 from 1,060 at present. A WR official said, “A command and control system will have to be developed with access to both the railway protection force (RPF) and government railway police (GRP)”. An audit of all suburban WR stations was carried out following directives of railway minister Piyush Goyal in the wake of September’s Elphinstone Road stampede, which claimed 23 lives. The other suggestions include shifting of stalls and toilets from island platforms to the concourse area to facilitate smooth movement of passengers. An island platform is one where trains halt on either side. A home platform, on the other hand, is where access is directly from the road, without having to climb foot over bridges.


Commuters have long been critical of the presence of stalls and toilets on island platforms as they take up a lot of space. Borivli’s Ajay Nair said, “Why are so many stalls needed on platforms in a city like Mumbai where eateries are located in every nook and corner?”. Proposed doubling of CCTVs was another important suggestion. A WR official said, “Andheri has only 40 cameras for a station of such a huge size. At Elphinstone, too, there were very few cameras and the quality of footage was poor”. The report has also recommended connecting foot over bridges with skywalks at as many places as possible. Commuter Rootvesh Shah said, “All stations should be developed like Borivli, which is so congested but the planning has ensured there is no stampede-like situation”.



Anti-dengue drive: Chennai Corporation collects Rs 25 lakh fine from building owners



CHENNAI: As many as 9,964 building owners in Chennai were slapped with fine by the Greater Chennai Corporation for allowing dengue-causing Aedes aegypti mosquitoes to breed on their premises. The civic body collected Rs 25.76 lakh as fine, a statement said. On Tuesday, special officer and commissioner D Karthikeyan and principal secretary (municipal administration department) Harmander Singh held a review meeting to discuss steps taken to curb dengue and the local body’s preparedness ahead of the northeast monsoon. The corporation said it had screened 4.61 lakh people by conducting 9,247 medical camps. “Of these, 6,998 were found to have fever symptoms. Among them, 164 patients were referred for further treatment,” the statement said. On the city’s monsoon preparedness, the corporation said it had already spent Rs 10.31 crore to desilt storm water drains measuring 1,204 km. The city’s storm drain network runs for 1,894km and comprises 7,351 drains. “Rs 7.43 crore has been allocated for repairing damaged storm drains. Repair works are currently underway,” the statement added.


In the city’s extended areas, the corporation has undertaken storm water drain construction work for a distance of 376km. “Of this, drains have been finished to a length of 299km,” the corporation said. To protect people living in low-lying areas in the instance of a flood, the corporation has relocated families who were considered to be squatting on public land. Of the total 14,257 houses identified as encroachments along the Cooum river bank, the corporation has removed 825 houses. Among the 9,687 houses encroaching the Adyar river bank, the civic body has removed 4,134 houses. The corporation said during a flood situation, it would make use of the 109 rescue boats in its disposal to help stranded residents. At least 176 relief camps have been prepped and are on standby while 44 mobile paramedical teams will tend to injuries and assist rescue teams if needed.



International News



New cyber-attacks hit airport, metro in Ukraine



KIEV: Cyber-attacks hit Ukraine’s Odessa airport and the metro system in Kiev on Tuesday, with the state-run Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) saying a new wave of hacks was hitting the country and asking transport networks to be on particular alert. Ukraine was the chief victim of a major cyber-attack earlier this year, and the government had warned on Oct. 13 that another strike might be coming. “We ask the owners of telecommunication systems, other information resources, transport infrastructure first of all, as well as ordinary internet users, to comply with stricter cyber security requirements,” CERT-Ukraine said in a statement. The cyber police and the infrastructure ministry said that Tuesday’s strikes did not appear to constitute a mass attack. The central bank said the banking system was working normally. Odessa airport said it had tightened security measures while the Kiev metro reported an attack on its payment system. “We report that the IT system of Odessa international airport has been hit by a hacker attack. All services of the airport are working in a stricter mode,” the airport said in a statement. Ukraine, which believes Russia is behind regular attacks on its computer systems, is trying to roll out a national strategy to keep state institutions and major companies safe. Moscow denies that it is behind cyber-attacks on its neighbours.



Bangladesh, Myanmar agree to halt the outflow of Rohingya


NAYPYITAW: Government officials from Bangladesh and Myanmar have agreed to halt the outflow of Rohingya Muslims to Bangladesh and enable the refugees to return home. The two sides met Tuesday in Myanmar’s capital, Naypyitaw, to discuss a crisis that has seen hundreds of thousands of Rohingya flee to Bangladesh to escape violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state. The sides said in a joint statement that “Myanmar affirms its commitment to immediately halt the outflow of Myanmar residents to Bangladesh, to restore normalcy in Rakhine to enable displaced Myanmar residents to return from Bangladesh at the earliest” possible time. More than 600,000 Rohingya from northern Rakhine have fled to Bangladesh since August 25, when Myanmar security forces began a scorched-earth campaign against Rohingya villages.

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