Rush-hour scare: Tanker with 20k litre diesel erupts in flames
Mumbai: Fire broke out in a tanker carrying 20,000 litres of diesel on a Western Express Highway (WEH) flyover at Goregaon during rush hour on Monday morning. Disaster was averted as the fire, sparked by a short-circuit in the driver’s cabin, was brought under control before it could leap on to the vehicle’s main body—the tank with the fuel. Police said that but for prompt action by the fire brigade, there could have been an explosion, costing many lives. The incident resulted in a major traffic jam on the stretch for five hours, till about 3pm. The BPCL tanker was moving from Goregaon towards Borivli. At 9.53am, fire broke out in the driver’s cabin. The traffic police reached the spot soon and cordoned it off. “Traffic was halted at 100 metres on either side of the spot. Because of the resultant traffic jam, fire brigade vehicles were hindered, but they jumped the divider and reached at 10.12am,” said a police officer. The tanker’s driver got off as soon as he realized it was on fire. The fire was extinguished with two high-pressure lines and a small hose line. “We put it out in a very short time. BPCL personnel were asked to decant the tank,” said chief fire officer P S Rahangdale. “Prima facie, it is an accident and not a case of negligence. All conditions for transport of diesel seem to have been followed,” said DCP Sangramsinh Nishandar. According to an order passed by the traffic department last year, ‘heavy vehicles’ aren’t allowed on city roads from 8-11am and 5-9pm. “This rule doesn’t apply to essential services, like vehicles carrying milk, diesel, etc.” said DCP (traffic, western suburbs) Sandeep Bhajibhakre.
The tanker couldn’t be moved from WEH for a couple of hours due to cooling operations. The resultant traffic jam stretched from Kandivli till Andheri on the highway, and affected interior roads as well. For example, SV Road was clogged. North-bound traffic was diverted through a lane created on WEH’s south arm. Motorists said traffic came to a standstill on both arms of WEH. “It took me 80 minutes to drive from Kandivli to Goregaon around 1pm,” tweeted a motorist, Prashant Nair, as people took to social media to warn others about the congestion. “Traffic stretched 6km one way,” tweeted another motorist. An ambulance could be seen among the stuck vehicles. An accident between a tempo and a car on WEH’s south arm at Kandivli aggravated the jam. TIMES VIEW: Given the condition of our roads, and the gross indiscipline of most drivers, transporting hazardous material in any form is like playing with fire. Although, seemingly, no rules were violated in this incident, the possibility of the blaze in the diesel-carrying tanker turning into a raging inferno was very real and the stuff of nightmares. Safety experts and industry heads have repeatedly called for an umbrella framework to govern transportation of fuels and chemicals. While prevention is definitely the preferred option, authorities must train firemen, policemen and citizens too on how to tackle fire emergencies on the road, in order to minimise damage and loss of lives.
Gang Targeting Flyers at Airport busted, three arrested
Mumbai: Sahar police have busted a three-member gang that included a taxi driver for robbing over Rs 2,000 from a 35-year-old bank executive who had hired the cab from outside the international airport on May 25 night to go to his home in Andheri. The complainant said, one gang member standing outside the airport car parking bay stopped the car pretending to be a passenger. He robbed the bank executive as the cab reached Sahar village road. Senior inspector of Sahar police Shashikant Mane said, “Soon after the victim got into the cab, one of the accused, Mohammed Khan, too, boarded the cab. Midway, he threatened the victim and driver and fled with the money. The driver pretended to be innocent and took the cab to MIDC police station on the victim’s instructions. They then took the cab driver and victim to Sahar police where the case was solved”.
Mane said while one gang member lured fliers at the terminal arrival point with cheap fares, the second was the cab driver, while the third accused posed as a passenger and executed the robbery. “The taxi driver, Mohammed Ali (45), initially pretended to be innocent and even accompanied the victim to the police station. However, on interrogation, he broke down and confessed how the gang lured fliers with cheap fares and, later, robbed them,” said a police officer. After Ali spilled the beans on his accomplices, the team led by Mane and comprising inspector Sunaina Nate, assistant inspector Ajinkya Tambade, sub-inspector Anandrao Nagral, constables Sayyed and Sonawane arrested Avad Pal (25) who use to stand at the arrival gate to lure fliers. Pal’s arrest led the team to Mohammed Khan (35).
140 Poles Damaged, City Plunges into Darkness
COSTLY DAMAGE: Rain and strong winds knocked a transformer out of operation — and position — in Rajajinagar on Sunday night.
Bengaluru: Heavy showers and strong winds since Saturday damaged over 140 electricity poles, plunging several parts of the city into darkness for 12-20 hours over the weekend. Irked residents said Bescom staff responded to their calls with indifference. While many residents said no one picked up calls to Bescom’s helpline, others in places where poles had fallen said they were forced to shell out Rs 1,500 to 2,000 for power to be restored. On Saturday and Sunday power disruptions of more than three hours were reported from Rajanakunte, Shivajinagar, Malleswaram, JP Nagar, Vijaynagar, HSR Layout, Koramangala, Banaswadi, Jayanagar, Hebbal, RR Nagar and Indiranagar. Most of the outages were caused by uprooted trees or broken branches falling on electricity poles and wires. “We faced power cuts that lasted over 6 hours,” said Rana Chakrabarti, a resident of Mico Layout.
“The most frustrating thing is that there is no one to complain to. The Bescom helpline number was unreachable on both days. Finally, late on Sunday night, I managed to get through to a Bescom official in my area”. Monu Awalla, a resident of Chandrapura, tweeted how his locality has not had power for the past two days. “@NammaBESCOM we are escalating this issue from Lake View Golden Nest, Lakshmisagara Road, Hale Chandrapura. We don’t have power for 2 days and none of the Bescom team has responded to our calls. Please help immediately,” he tweeted on Monday morning. Bescom officials said their staff had been working hard to restore power. Additional manpower and teams were deployed in Malleshwaram and Vijaynagar, they said. “Many trees fell on our conductors and transformers, due to which there have been power interruptions. This is why we are fast-tracking the conversion of overhead cables to underground cables,” Bescom managing director C Shikha said.
Fire erupts at chemical factory in Sanand
A major fire broke out at a chemical factory in Sanand town of Ahmedabad district on Monday afternoon.
Ahmedabad: A major fire broke out at a chemical factory in Sanand town of Ahmedabad district on Monday afternoon. No casualties were reported in the incident, officials of the Ahmedabad Fire and Emergency Service (AFES) said. The fire broke out at around 2.30pm on Monday at Nrup Reck Solvents and Chemicals at the Uma estate, 1km from the Sanand toll booth. As many as 60 AFES personnel and 14 fire tenders were pressed into service, said the Ahmedabad chief fire officer M F Dastoor. It took 3 hours to douse the blaze, Dastoor said. Another official said the blaze occurred due to a chemical leak and it spread across the unit, where solvents and other chemicals were stored. Due to the heat, the solvent caught fire and this went out of control, said the fire official. The fire spread rapidly through the entire unit, forcing workers to rush out. Fire official said that the fumes from the fire at the unit were hazardous and person exposed to them would faint immediately. As the unit was located in an open area, the fumes did not harm anyone. This is the second fire at an industrial unit in Gujarat this month. On May 27, a major fire broke out in a chemical unit at the Vapi GIDC industrial estate, in which two workers suffered injuries.