News Flash – 29 July 2019

National News



Badlapur Flood Victims seek payout from Government for Losses


Badlapur: Electricity and water were yet to be restored in Badlapur on Sunday, where housing colonies built in recent years near Ulhas river were flooded by torrential rain the day before. Ground floor flats and parking areas in these buildings went under water, which rose to around one and a half metres and took over 24 hours to recede. Around 50,000 people have been affected. Stranded in their buildings for almost a day, they are now counting their losses in terms of damaged vehicles, electronic goods and furniture. Also, most ground-floor flats will be uninhabitable for some time because of dampness and the accumulation of germs. The affected flats need disinfection to prevent epidemics. The worst-affected areas are Hendrepada, Rameshwadi, Valivali, Ganesh Nagar, Barraj Road and Badlapur village. Most ground-floor residents in these areas were forced to take shelter on the upper floors.



Sanjay Pavde, who lives in Navshiv Ganga Nagar, said, “It started raining here on Friday. By 10.30pm, there was so much water that we had to shift to our neighbours on the floor above for shelter”. He said that around 5.30am on Sunday, when the water level had decreased, he and his family went down, only to find that everything in their flat was damaged. “I haven’t even had the gumption to start counting our losses,” he said. Locals say the government should compensate them for their losses. Another resident of the same building, Rajashree Ketavadikar, said, “We were stranded for almost 30 hours, but not a single government authority visited our home.” Sakharam Vagle, who lives in nearby Rameshwadi, said, “We passed two nights in darkness. Water stored in the building’s tanks got over on Saturday night. Till now, no government or civic agency has visited us”.



Karjat line Shut for over 48 Hours, 25k Passengers hit by Cancellations

Mahalaxmi Express marooned in floodwaters at Vangani on Saturday.



Mumbai: Facing the worst ever damage to railway tracks due to flash floods, services were Paralysed for over 48 hours in the Badlapur-Karjat section of the Central Railway’s Mumbai-Pune corridor during the weekend. After a mammoth operation involving 300 railway personnel, services on this vital suburban corridor was restored at 9pm on Sunday. This has come as a relief to scores of commuters from Karjat to Kalyan, who travel as far as CSMT for work. They can now take trains during Monday morning’s rush hours. The incident also impacted more than 25,000 passengers of long distance trains as at least seven trains were cancelled and 17 were diverted on Sunday. A couple of trains remain cancelled on Monday as well (Mumbai-Hyderabad Express and Panvel-Hazur Sahib Nanded Express). On Saturday, 1,050 passengers went through the trauma of being stranded in Mahalaxmi Express, which was stuck in flood at Vangani. They went through a five-hour rescue by teams of the NDRF, Navy, Air Force, Army, CR and state administration.



The damage to tracks is unprecedented. Said CR chief spokesperson Sunil Udasi, “The huge flow of floodwaters onto tracks inflicted heavy damage to railway property at 54 points, 28 track circuits, 14 signals, and indoor relays and power equipment in two relay huts. Two rakes kept in siding were marooned”. He said the worst damage was the “washout of ballast in a range of 2.5 km along the down track towards Karjat and 1.5km on the up track” towards CSMT. Repair and restoration took a long time. Braving rainfall, more than 300 railway and contract workers worked round the clock to restore normalcy “in record time”, said Udasi. Because of the closure, commuters from Vangani, Neral and Karjat, who had urgent work in Mumbai, had to pay through their noses in the absence of proper state transport. Rajesh Kadam, who reached Badlapur railway station from Neral, said, “We had to pay extra to an autorickshaw driver, who took Rs 100 from each passengers instead of the usual Rs 50”. But there were a few honest drivers as well, who charged regular fares. To ease commuting woes, CR cancelled two mega blocks scheduled for Sunday on the Kalyan-Thane and CSMT-Bandra/Chunabhatti corridors.



Cyclonic Circulation May Trigger more showers in city today: MET

The city received 14.3mm rain on Sunday.



Kolkata: The city received several spells of drizzle on Sunday even as the monsoon trough moved closer to the city and a cyclonic circulation formed over northwest Bay of Bengal. These will continue to trigger intermittent showers also on Monday but the rain may lessen on Tuesday and showers may remain scarce till a low-pressure form over northwest Bay of Bengal later in the week. It could be more intense than the one, which had formed last week and may cause heavy showers, according to the Met office. Kolkata received 14.5mm rain till 5.30 pm on Sunday. The city remained cloudy even as multiple spells of light rain soaked the city since morning. “Since the monsoon trough now passes across Dhanbad and Digha to central Bay of Bengal, Kolkata and south Bengal are receiving showers. A cyclonic circulation over northwest Bay, too, contributed to the rain on Sunday. It may intensify further along with the imminent low-pressure. The latter may take shape on Thursday or Friday and the conditions look favourable for a rainy spell,” said Regional Meteorological Centre director GK Das.



He added the presence of moisture in the air aided the showers on Sunday and may persist till the low-pressure forms. “It seems the system will be a potent one and will lead to heavier showers. There is also a possibility of the low-pressure turning into a depression. If it does, then it will be the first depression of this monsoon,” said Das. It has been a dry monsoon in Kolkata so far with rainfall deficiency crossing 60% in the city this month. While July rain count in Kolkata has frequently been lower than normal over the last 10 years, this year’s deficiency has been the highest. Between 2010 and 2018, Kolkata had a July rain deficit six times. Last year, the deficit was 51%. Gangetic Bengal, too, has a seasonal deficit of around 60%. “This week’s rain will lower the deficit. But it is unlikely to wipe it out completely. In fact, the deficit could remain quite high despite the low-pressure triggered rain which is expected later this week,” said a weather scientist.



International News



Kabul Blast injures Afghan President running Mate, 2 Dead

An injured man is transported to a hospital after blast in Kabul on Sunday.



Kabul: A powerful explosion hit central Kabul on Sunday, wounding Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s running mate on the first day of official campaigning for a presidential election and killing at least two others, officials said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. At least 25 civilians were injured in the blast on a road near the private Ghalib University, interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said. Immediately after the blast, gunmen stormed a nearby building belonging to vice presidential candidate Amrullah Saleh’s Afghan Green Trend Party. Saleh was wounded by shrapnel before being evacuated from the office. Photographs shared by a government official showed Saleh sitting in a garden with blood stains on his right arm, surrounded by security guards. Afghan soldiers killed one gunman but two others were still battling with Afghan forces in a four-storey building near the blast site, Rahimi said, adding 40 civilians had been rescued.



The attack underscored the risks facing the presidential election, which is scheduled for September 28 but which has already been delayed twice this year. Saleh, a former Afghan spy chief turned politician, is an uncompromising opponent of the Taliban and other hardline Islamist groups. He led the country’s National Directorate of Security until 2010. Ghani, Saleh and over a dozen other Afghan politicians, including Hanif Atmar, another former intelligence chief and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a former warlord in the anti-Soviet Mujahideen, launched their two-month presidential election campaign on Sunday. Ghani said in a tweet: “My brother, true son of the Afghan soil and first VP candidate of my electoral team, Amrullah Saleh has survived a complex attack by enemies of the state. We are relieved and thank the almighty that the attack has failed”. Saleh, a former close associate of slain anti-Soviet Mujahideen commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, who commands strong support among Afghanistan’s minority ethnic Tajiks, was not available for comment.

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