Mumbai: By year-end, dial 112 for any emergency
To reduce the time of response to a distress call, the state government plans to set up a single number for all emergencies before the year ends. At present there are three: 100 for the police, 101 for the fire brigade and 108 for the ambulance service. The aim is to streamline the emergency response process by merging all three into one, 112. The move is part of the Union home ministry‘s efforts to have one central emergency number for the entire country, just like the US’s 911. At present, the time taken to act on a distress call is sometimes as much as 15 minutes. This is because a person in an emergency is often confused about the correct number to be dialed. “There are times when during a fire, a person dials 100–the police. This way the message takes time to reach the fire brigade. Having just one emergency number will save the time lost in relaying messages between departments or services,” said an official.
As for the control room, the state home department is considering three models for Maharashtra. One: Centralised call taking (all calls received by just one control room) and Centralised dispatch (vehicles, equipment and manpower dispatched by the same control room). Two: Centralised call taking and decentralized dispatch, (calls forwarded to the local police station or fire brigade, who will make dispatch). Three: Decentralized call taking and response. The problem with the first model is that there are too many dialects in the state to be handled by the possibly limited personnel at just one centre; also, the call attendant must have a good idea of the caller’s location as the person, being in an emergency, might not be in a situation to explain things lucidly. This is also more or less the problem with the second model. The third doesn’t have this problem, but may be less efficient and is likely to be more expensive to set up. “Each model has it pros and cons. We are yet to finalise anything. Everything will have to be looked at keeping efficiency and cost in mind,” said a senior police officer who is part of a committee that has been set up for the purpose. Part of the funds will come from the Centre. UP, MP and Gujarat are also working on the project.
Scamster village: 1,000 homes, 900 cyber crooks
AHMEDABAD: Giridih in Jharkhand has earned the sobriquet of “Cyber Zone”, as have Deogarh and Jamtara in that state. But the appellation does not signify digital revolution; it reflects the emergence of these places as the hubs of cyber-crime. For instance, in Giridih, Binsmi village has 1,000 dwellings and is home to about 900 cyber cheats. Cyber cell officials of the Ahmedabad crime branch had recently searched these areas to nab Mohammed Jilani Ansari who had cheated people across 15 states using a couple of cellphones. Ahmedabad cops were bemused when local police personnel assisting them announced that they were entering the Cyber Zone. “We had kept the operation a top secret,” a senior Ahmedabad Police official said. “However, when we were about to enter Binsmi village, a Jharkhand cop asked us whether we were looking for an online scamster. When we said yes, the Jharkhand cop murmured, “Cyber Zone mein aur kis ko khojo ge? (Who else will you look for in the Cyber Zone) “. For Ansari, Gujarat was the favourite hunting ground. But he has also extracted money from people in Rajasthan, Maharashtra, and Punjab. “He made about 200 calls a day. Every 10 to 15 calls, he managed to persuade the victim to give the ATM card number, the CVV number, and the one-time password,” said a crime branch official. “He used the information to transfer money from the victim’s bank account to one the 34 e-wallets he had created with 10 different email IDs”.
Local police cannot do much about people like Ansari. No case is registered against them. “They cheat people in other states,” a cyber-cell official said. As for the Ahmedabad cyber cell’s operation in Jharkhand, officials said there were moments of anxiety because they were not far from Naxalite-hit areas. “Once we picked up Ansari, we came to know that almost every house in these areas has a cyber-crook,” a cyber-cell official said. According to crime branch officials in Ahmedabad, Jilani has revealed that the kingpin of the online fraud racket in Jharkhand is Tiku Mandal, who heads a gang of 14. “He provides them sim cards and transfers money from their e-wallets to his bank account. He then gives them cash after deducting his commission,” a cyber-cell official said. However, it will be tough to nab Mandal, officials said. “No one knows where he lives. He pays a visit once a week to his gang members to collect money and then vanishes,” the crime branch official said. “We are planning a major operation in Jharkhand to nab him”.
Man beaten to death for stopping youths from peeing in open
NEW DELHI: A 33-year-old e-rickshaw driver, Ravinder, was brutally beaten to death with brass knuckles and bricks wrapped in towels, allegedly by a group of Delhi University students, on Saturday evening. The provocation? He had stopped two of the students from urinating in the open at north-west Delhi’s Mukherjee Nagar. Police said the incident took place near Gate No. 4 of GTB Nagar metro station. Earlier in the day, at about 1.30pm, Ravinder had parked his vehicle near the spot and was waiting for a couple of his friends for lunch, when he noticed two young men urinating against the wall of a public toilet. “I saw him walking towards the duo, who were both holding beer cans. Ravinder asked them not to urinate there and dirty the place as all of us sat there to have lunch every day. When they started arguing, he pulled out a few coins from his pocket and asked them to take the money and pay for using the toilet. Angered by his gesture, they pulled his collar and threatened him with dire consequences,” said Manoj, an eyewitness.
“Aaj raat tak teri haalat kharab kar denge (we will make you pay for this by tonight),” the two told Ravinder, according to Manoj. Another eyewitness, a rickshaw-puller named Tota Ram, said two men came enquiring for “the man in a green shirt” at about 3.30pm. “None of us knew whom they were talking about as we had not met Ravinder since the morning. It’s only later when he came to the stand after dropping passengers that we noticed him wearing a green shirt,” said Tota Ram. “The men loitered around our stand for some time and left just minutes before Ravinder arrived. Coincidentally, I was at the stand in the evening too when the two men again arrived there, this time with 20-25 odd men accompanying them,” he added. Police said that as per eyewitness accounts, the men noticed Ravinder standing with a few others at the stand at 8pm and walked up to him. “They dragged him near a pole and started hitting him with brass knuckles and bricks wrapped in towels. Some people who tried to stop the attackers were thrashed as well,” said Tota Ram.
Manoj tried to save Ravinder and was attacked too. He managed to free himself and rushed to the victim’s house just across the road, crying for help. However, before any help could arrive, the attackers fled, leaving Ravinder lying on the road while shocked bystanders looked on. Virender, the victim’s elder brother, told TOI, “I put him in the e-rickshaw and took him home. He complained of pain in his back. As he tried to walk, he instantly fell. I carried him into the house, but within five minutes, the pain in his back intensified. We rushed him to Bara Hindu Rao hospital, but the doctors declared him brought dead.” A senior police officer said Ravinder had suffered severe internal injuries. “A case has been registered and teams have been formed to identify and nab the accused,” said Milind Dumbere, deputy commissioner of police (North West). No breakthrough had been made in the case till Sunday night.
Two days of consecutive rain leave Bengaluru in complete mess
BENGALURU: Heavy rain accompanied by gusty winds for the second consecutive day on Saturday led to power outages across the city, uprooted at least 20 trees and flooded several houses in Bilekahalli and Arekere on Bannerghatta Road and the surrounding areas. The city recorded 34.9 mm rain up to 8.30pm. The BBMP control room in Bilekahalli claimed to have received at least 50 complaints from Arakere, Bilekahalli and nearby areas about water entering houses. Officials blamed it on the overflowing rajakaluve in Hosakerehalli. The heavy showers also threw traffic out of gear in several areas, particularly in Majestic, Gandhinagar, K R Market, Shanthinagar, Mysore Road and Corporation Circle as roads were flooded. Motorists had to wade through knee deep water on Vittal Mallya Road. In east Bengaluru’s Vivekanagar, several auto rickshaws were stranded. Waterlogging was also reported from west Bengaluru areas such as Nagarabhavi near Outer Ring Road, resulting in long traffic jam. The Magadi Road junction, Shivananda Circle, Chandra Layout, RPC Layout, Nayandahalli junctions were also flooded. Bescom helplines remained busy on Saturday with complaints of power cuts 7pm onwards.
Earlier on Friday night, heavy rain had left several areas in the city powerless, uprooted trees and damaged cars. The level of foam on Bellandur Lake had increased and spilled on to the road following the rain. Bescom received 5,024 complaints till 11pm Friday, most complaints poured in from Indiranagar (756), followed by Hebbal (686), HSR Layout (680) and Koramangala (648). Saturday saw 1,964 complaints from midnight to 7am, of which 296 were from HSR Layout alone. Bescom could resolve only 3,270 complaints till Saturday morning. Long outages were witnessed in Koramangala and west Bengaluru’s Malleswar am on Friday and power could only be restored by Saturday afternoon. The residents of 18th Main Road of Koramangala 6th block could not take their cars out of their houses because the BWSSB has dug up trenches and filled them with wet waste, and the rains opened them up. The city received 83.4mm of rain from Friday evening till Saturday 8am, and 86.4mm in and around KIA. The rainfall accompanied with wind storm uprooted 76 trees, damaged 13 cars and 8 motorcycles, according to the BBMP control room records. Only 42 trees could be cleared till Saturday morning. Mayor G Padmavathi, who was at the BBMP control room till late Friday, directed the special commissioners at the control room to inspect the rain affected areas on Saturday.
Lack of awareness a major reason for late diagnosis of lupus
HYDERABAD: While the number of patients suffering from lupus in the city is slowly increasing, it takes an average of three years for diagnosis of the life threatening disease. The delay in diagnosis is due to lack of awareness about this rare auto immune disease, said experts speaking at a one- day continuous education session on Lupus held at KIMS hospital in the city. ‘Systemic Lupus Erythematosus’ – commonly known as Lupus disease affects 1 in 1,000 people making it a rare disease that predominantly affects women. Nine out of 10 patient’s lupus patients are women in their reproductive age of 15 to 45 years. The life threatening disease has a varied presentation among patient ranging from very common symptoms like butterfly shaped rash on skin when exposed to the sun, excessive fatigue, hair loss, to severe manifestations like paralysis, cardiac stroke, and recurrent abortions when it affects organs.
The fact that there is very little on Lupus even in medical textbooks makes it difficult to diagnose. “There is lack of awareness regarding Lupus disease not only among general population but also among those from the medical fraternity. Since it is not included in text book lessons, medical professionals are unable to identify the signs. If lupus remains undiagnosed in early stages, it can become life threatening. As patients have multi organ involvement they seek consultation from respective specialist depending upon organ system involved leading to under diagnosis,” said Dr. V Sharat Chandramouli, clinical director, department of rheumatology and clinical immunology, KIMS Hospitals. During the day-long event, aspects like how to spot Lupus patients in very early stages, common symptoms and organ manifestations, existing and newer available treatment options, how Lupus differs in presentation among adults and pediatric population were discussed. Around 200 delegates from various parts of the state attended the event.
10% school buses fail safety test so far, checks continue
CHENNAI: Putting a child on a school bus has never given a parent the sense of security it did before July 25, 2012 when, in a horrific accident, six year-old Shruthi Sethumadhavan died after falling through a hole in the floor of the vehicle. The only redeeming upshot of the accident was that it prompted the government to take safety of school vehicles more seriously by making yearly checks mandatory under the TN Motor Vehicles (Regulation and Control of School Buses), Special Rules, 2012. Ongoing checks by officials, however, indicate that many school buses still do not meet the safety regulations. Ahead of the academic year that begins in June, a joint committee of representatives from the RTOs, district revenue offices, district education offices and police, conducting checks of school buses, found that close to 10% of these vehicles do not conform to regulations.
Of the 1,062 checked so far, the panel has cleared 961 buses and rejected safety clearances for 101buses. “The 101 vehicles either have some defect or do not comply with the rules,” a north zone transport official said. Among the RTOs in the north zone are those that include Ayanavaram, East Pulianthope, North Retteri, Northeast Tondiarpet, Northwest Anna Nagar, Poonamallee, Ambattur and Tiruvallur in their jurisdiction. The panel has checked a majority of school buses in the north of the city and is in inspecting buses in the south. Among the parameters that the buses have to meet for safety clearances are that they should have safety partitions, window grilles, functional doors with safety handles, fire extinguishers and first-aid kits. The panel asked the owners of the 101rejected buses to mend their defects before returning, before the end of May, for another inspection. Officials said they will complete inspections in the south zone by the same time.
Two dead, 18 hurt in China knife attack: State media
BEIJING: A knife attacker killed two people and injured 18 in a rampage in southwest China, state media reported, the latest such attack in recent years. The man, aged 30 and believed to be suffering from mental health problems, is in police custody after the assault in Guizhou Province, according to the official Xinhua news agency. All twenty victims were rushed to hospital after the attack, but two later died, said the report. Few other details were available. Knife attacks are not uncommon in China. In January a man armed with a kitchen knife stabbed 11 children at a kindergarten in China’s southern Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. In February last year, a knife-wielding assailant wounded 10 children in Haikou, in the southern island province of Hainan, before committing suicide.
In 2014 state media reported that a man stabbed three children and a teacher to death and wounded several others in a rampage at a primary school that refused to enroll his daughter. That followed a March 2013 incident in which a man killed two relatives and then slashed 11 people, including six children, outside a school in China’s commercial hub Shanghai. Violent crime has been on the rise in China in recent decades as the nation’s economy has boomed and the gap between rich and poor has expanded rapidly.
Airstrikes kill 17 in Syria near de-facto IS capital, Raqqa
BEIRUT: Syrian opposition activist groups say airstrikes have killed at least 17 people just south of the northern city of Raqqa, the de facto capital of the Islamic State group. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 18 people were killed in the airstrikes on the road between the villages of Ratla and Kasrat. It said Sunday’s airstrikes hit buses, adding that the identity of the dead is not known. The activist-operated Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently said 17 civilians were killed in the airstrike on buses carrying civilians. Both groups blamed the U.S.-led coalition, which has been carrying out airstrikes in Syria against IS since September 2014. U.S.-backed Syrian fighters have been marching toward Raqqa for weeks under the cover of coalition airstrikes.
Sri Lanka mudslide, flood deaths rise to 126; 97 missing
COLOMBO: Sri Lankan rescuers are taking advantage of improving weather and receding floodwaters to reach thousands of people in need to basic supplies after floods and mudslides left at least 126 dead. Officials say hope is fading for finding survivors among 97 people missing in two days of torrential rains and landslides that swamped western and southern regions. More than 100,000 are displaced. The UN says that it is assisting in relief efforts in response to a government appeal. Although the weather has cleared, more rains are forecast for Sunday and Monday. Mudslides have become common in Sri Lanka during monsoon rains due to heavy deforestation that leaves soil unable to hold water.