News Flash – 26 July 2019

National News



Heavy Rain Alert issued for Mumbai, Thane, Pune


Mumbai/Pune: The Regional Meteorological Centre in Mumbai has issued an orange alert for Mumbai, Thane and Pune for Friday. An orange alert is a sign for authorities to prepare for a severe situation. A red alert was issued for July 26 and 28 in Palghar. The alerts intended to signify stages of rough weather, range from yellow to orange to red. Forecast is for heavy to very heavy rain in Mumbai, Thane and Raigad on July 26. Extremely heavy rainfall is likely at isolated places in Palghar. “Due to heavy-to-very-heavy rainfall possibility from July 27, there may be flooding in low-lying areas. Wall collapses in case of old structures cannot be ruled out,” an IMD official said. Mumbai and Thane may receive heavy rainfall (64.5mm-204.4mm) till July 28. Weathermen said there is a cyclonic circulation over South Gujarat and the neighborhood and a feeble offshore trough from North Maharashtra coast to Karnataka coast. The monsoon got active on Tuesday midnight, with the island city recording the highest rain this season of 173mm. “There is a strong monsoon circulation over central and northwest India with the presence of an active monsoon trough slightly to south of its normal position,” said K S Hosalikar, deputy director-general (meteorology), Regional IMD. On Thursday, Santa Cruz observatory recorded 25.4mm and Colaba 11.6mm. Rain since June 1 at Colaba has been 1,292.9mm and Santa Cruz 1,584.5mm.



10 Kids in Virar Hospital rushed to Terrace after Fire in Building

About 30 people were huddled on the terrace for an hour.



Mumbai: A fire broke out in a building that houses a children’s nursing home in Virar (east), leaving at least 10 kids and their parents on tenterhooks for at least an hour on Thursday morning. No one was injured. At least 30 people, including children, who had rushed to the terrace were escorted downstairs by firemen. The building had no fire-fighting equipment. Around 11am, smoke started to billow from the two-story Matru Krupa Building that houses Abhinav Children’s Hospital on the second floor. While no one was admitted to the hospital, those who were visiting rushed to the terrace. Shehnaz Qazi, who had come with her two-year-old son, said that she heard people screaming about a fire in the building. “I, along with mothers of other kids, rushed to the terrace which had its door open,” said Qazi. “The rain kept us from inhaling much smoke”. People huddled on the terrace were herded out of the building after an hour. Fire brigade officials of said that a short circuit in the meter box on the ground floor possibly sparked the fire. An official said that rainwater that may have seeped into the electric meter box possibly sparked the short circuit. While the nursing home is on the second floor, the ground and first floors of the building were vacant.



Captured on CCTV Camera, 2 Women Snatchers held



New Delhi: Three days after a woman lodged an e-FIR about her phone getting snatched in north Delhi’s Sarai Rohilla, a 22-year-old woman, Chandni, and her 18-year-old associate, Monu, have been arrested for the crime. The duo was found carrying out snatchings in north and central Delhi. On Monday, the complainant stated that she was walking back home while talking on her mobile phone when two people came on a two-wheeler from behind. The person riding pillion then snatched her phone. The victim later realised that that snatching was done by a woman and told this to the cops. Police scanned CCTV footage from the stretch and spotted the duo riding a white scooty. On Thursday, policemen at a picket spotted the duo and stopped them for checking. On questioning, Chandni and Monu confessed that they had carried out the snatching. A stolen mobile phone was recovered from them after a search. The woman and her accomplice have been taken in for questioning to ascertain their involvements in other incidents reported in the area. The duo used to target women and snatch their phones and wallets. The phones were sold to a receiver, who is being traced.



Altered Flu Virus in “Stealth Fever” Scare


Kolkata: An “evolved” form of the influenza virus is on the prowl in Kolkata, and it’s already laid several thousand low over the past fortnight. Medical experts are concerned because this virus can spread easily, and causes a fever that shows almost no symptom, making it more difficult to detect and control. The spread of this virus is being helped by the unusually dry and warm monsoon. While the virus has so far neither posed a significant treatment challenge, nor has it exhibited severe forms of discomfort in patients, the city’s medical fraternity is concerned because it’s spreading fast. Unlike the common “season change” influenza, this fever isn’t accompanied by severe discomfort in the form of cough, chest congestion, breathing distress or joint pain. Instead, it has been striking silently, with a sudden bout of high temperature, and disappearing without fuss in three-four days. Experts believe this could be the result of an evolution of the influenza virus, which has been taking on an altered form each year. And the weather is helping it to spread. The virus has been multiplying and spreading fast due to the high humidity, they pointed out. “While we generally come across fever patients with cough and joint pain at this time of the year, this time the fever has been ‘asymptomatic’,” said consultant Arindam Biswas. “It has been characterized by a body temperature of around 100°F, which is remaining constant for three to five days. But the other symptoms have been absent, which is good for patients and easier for doctors to manage. Just paracetamol and rest are enough to deal with the fever, since the accompanying ailments are not there”.



HEALTH ALERT: While a moderate fever without the associated discomforts is easy to treat, it has caused a change in the diagnosis protocol, forcing doctors to recommend tests to rule out malaria and dengue. “This is dengue season and a fever without symptom could be dangerous,” said Joydeep Ghosh, Fortis Hospital internal medicine consultant. “Thankfully, dengue cases have been few so far, but it still needs to be ruled out first”. He added that viruses have been striking with new symptoms every year and this, coupled with the dengue outbreaks, have made them threatening. “Viruses evolve and this could be a new strain. It doesn’t mean that the conventional influenza won’t return next year,” he said. “While evolved virus strains are not untreatable, they may reduce resistance and make it easier for bacterial infections to strike, especially in the case of young and elderly patients. This could turn fatal, if not treated early. Also, muted viral infections often make it difficult for doctors to identify dengue, which may strike simultaneously. So, even a mild symptomless fever has to be taken seriously and tests done to rule out dengue,” said Ghosh. A vast majority of fever patients this month have exhibited just a moderately high body temperature and nothing else, confirmed AMRI Hospital consultant Debashish Saha. “It has been spreading fast since the prevailing humidity is ideal for the multiplication of viruses. Such symptomless fever is rare in Kolkata, since seasonal fevers are invariably accompanied by co-morbidities. But this year has been an exception,” said Saha. Such epidemics are difficult to control, he added, since viruses get easily transmitted in public places. “Schools, colleges, offices, public transport and even open areas are not safe. Viruses get transmitted through the air, so prevention is difficult. The severity of the fever will depend on the individual’s immune system. Children and the elderly are suffering more due to lower levels of immunity. The rest are recovering in three-four days on an average,” said Saha.



MET Predicts Moderate to Heavy Rain in Kolkata for next 3 days


Kolkata: This July has so far been the driest July in Kolkata in the past five years, with the rain deficit figure reaching 67%. Last year, till July 25, this deficit was only 13%. The dry spell, however, ended partially on Thursday with scattered rain across the city, with some heavy spells in some areas. This could only be a prelude to a renewed monsoon flow with the Met office predicting good amount of rain moderate to heavy in the next few days. “The monsoon clouds are already there over city sky. So, we can expect good amount of rain in the next two to three days,” said G K Das, director, weather, at Regional Meteorological Kolkata. A cyclonic circulation over neighbouring Bangladesh and north Bengal had already started triggering rain in parts of south Bengal on Wednesday. The cloud cover over Kolkata on Thursday was also pushed up by this system. This cyclonic circulation may intensify into a low pressure area by Friday and lay over coastal Bengal, close to Kolkata. “In such a case, a few pockets could be lashed by intense showers. We expect rainfall measuring anything between 10mm and 20mm in the next two days,” added Das. Systems like low pressure and depression are expected to develop frequently during July and August, triggering widespread and heavy showers.



In the absence of any such dynamic weather system, rainfall this July has been abysmally low. Till July 25, Kolkata has already recorded a deficit of 67%. “The cumulative rainfall amount in June and July (till July 25) for Kolkata stands at 191.1mm against the normal 583.3mm. Hence, there is a deficit of 67%. Last year, till July 25, the rainfall deficit in the city was only 13%,” said Das. The scheduled arrival date for monsoon in the city is June 8, with an error margin of four days. Usually, there is a trend of rainfall deficit in June every year, baring a few exceptional cases. The shortfall is made up in July and August. This year, there was a two-week delay in arrival of southwest monsoon in Kolkata. With the scanty rain that followed, the city recorded 68% rainfall shortage by June-end. While the entire June rainfall was only 91.5mm, in July, there has been only 191.9mm rainfall so far. The deficit has gone down by only one per cent. Meteorologists fear this deficit may remain remarkably high till July end, with only six days left. “For overall south Bengal, the deficit has dipped to 53%. We expect normal monsoon activity in south Bengal during the next two weeks,” said Das. The cloud cover and the scattered rain on Thursday brought the mercury down to 33.5 degrees Celsius which was one notch above the normal mark. It will remain around 32-33 degrees in the next few days.



Metro to Install CCTV Cameras Inside & Outside AC Rakes


Kolkata: Apart from fitting closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras inside the coaches of all air-conditioned rakes, Metro Railway is also planning to install some cameras outside to capture real-time footage of what goes on near the doors after a train stops at a station. According to the proposal, the 13 older AC rakes and the two operational ICF Medha ones will get eight CCTV cameras each fitted outside. The BEML rakes for the East-West Metro corridor have six CCTV cameras mounted outside. While four of these are at the doors of the motormen’s coaches (pointing backward), two are in the mid-section of the rake. “The proposal to fit CCTV cameras both inside and outside 15 rakes have been cleared internally. There will be four CCTV cameras each inside the coaches. We shall start the tendering process as soon as the proposal is cleared by the Railway Board. The Dalian rake already has surveillance cameras inside that can record both video and audio. A proposal has also been sent to fit cameras outside to get a clearer view of something happens on the platforms or when the train is in motion,” Metro Railway CPRO Indrani Banerjee said. These changes are being brought about after the accident at the Park Street station on July 13 in which a 66-year-old Kasba resident lost his life.



While the CCTV cameras may not help in preventing such accidents, the footage they capture will certainly help in ascertaining what actually occurred. After Kanjilal’s death, there was a lot of hue and cry on whether it could be prevented. Some passengers inside the coach claimed that they had tried to alert the motorman through the talk-back systems but he did not apply brakes immediately, though none of them turned up to depose before the Commissioner of Metro Railway Safety (CMRS). During his probe into the incident, the CMRS had recommended that all conversations through the talkback system be recorded for future reference. The CCTV cameras being fitted inside the coaches will record video as well as audio footage. Metro Railway, meanwhile, is preparing for trials of the Dalian rake that arrived from China in February this year. Sandbags are already being loaded into the rake for load tests. The rake will then undergo extensive oscillation, riding index and specific energy tests. The electromagnetic interference and magnetic compatibility trials will be conducted thereafter. All these tests will be conducted by the experts from the Lucknow-based Research Design and Standards Organisations (RDSO). Only after the rake clears all trials will more start arriving from China.



Actor alleges assault at Golf Green ATM

The spot of the incident.



Kolkata: An actor has claimed that he was assaulted and harassed by two men when he tried to protect his girlfriend from being molested outside an ATM in the Golf Green area. The actor Debraj Mallick, a cousin of actor Koel Mallick alleged that the Jadavpur police had initially refused to register his complaint and had advised him to ‘settle’ the matter with the perpetrators. Cops indicated that one of the ‘perpetrators’, Azadgarh resident Soumen Chatterjee (25), is a model. “It was a case of a minor argument where both sides came to blows. We have lodged FIRs from both sides,” an officer said. While Debraj claimed that the two men assaulted him, they, in turn, claimed that the couple was chatting in the ATM kiosk. When Chatterjee knocked on the door, the woman hurled expletives and Debraj attacked him.

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