News Flash – 30 December 2019

National News



Traffic Violations Dip, Police Say Fear of Stiff Penalties a Deterrent

ON THE JOB: Before enhanced fines came into effect traffic police used to book 25,000 cases a day.



Bengaluru: The steep hike in fines for traffic violations is turning out to be a win-win situation for traffic police: while the number of cases they’re booking against offenders is reducing, the penalty amount is increasing. Traffic police attributed the dip to vehicle users falling in line due to the fear of hefty fines. The number of violations has been on the decline after September, when the new penalty regime kicked in. While nearly 25,000 cases of traffic violations were booked on an average every day during the first eight months of the year, the number began to come down once the new fines were in place from 20,000 in September, it dropped to 16,000 in October and November. The enhanced penalties were enforced on September 3 but were partially rolled back on September 22, in the wake of huge public outcry. While nearly 60 lakh cases were filed till August, the number was nearly 16 lakhs in the subsequent three months. Several traffic police officers said hike in penalties is the main for the decline in cases. They added that cases pertaining to helmetless riding, parking violations, jumping traffic signal, breaking the one-way rule and riding/driving without valid licence have seen a noticeable dip.



While cops rarely come across helmetless riders, pillion riders are still seen without the headgear. The break-up of the cases is still being collated. “The fine for riding without helmet is Rs 500, a five-fold increase from the previous amount of Rs 100. Similarly, riding without licence or insurance will attract a fine of Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000, depending on the type of vehicle. The steep fines have forced vehicle users to follow guidelines to some extent,” said joint commissioner of police, traffic, BR Ravikanthe Gowda. “We hope the number will drop further next year. Gradually, this will lead to smooth traffic flow,” Gowda added. However, another senior officer said cases of drunk driving, however, continue to mount. This despite the penalty going up from Rs 3,000 to Rs 10,000 and more. Thanks to the revised fines, the monthly cash collection is increasing. It hovered between Rs 5.6 crore and Rs 8.8 crore in the first eight months this year. The number crossed Rs 10.7 crore in September and fell short of Rs 11crore by a few thousands in November. Sources declined to attribute the decrease in traffic violations to policemen going slow on enforcement fearing public backlash over the high penalties. “But yes, enforcement has been affected due to other reasons like bandobust duty after the Ayodhya verdict,” the source said.



Dengue may be Widespread in State, but H1N1 is Five Times Deadlier



Bengaluru: Incidence of H1N1 may be less than dengue across Karnataka, but it has proved fatal in more number of cases. In the first 11 months of 2019, 96 people died due to H1N1 infection, compared to 13 who lost their battle to dengue. However, the number of dengue cases in the same period has been very high: 15,586 positive cases as against 1,973 persons affected by H1N1. While fatalities in dengue are less than 1%, in H1N1 it is close to 5%. According to senior officials in the health department, delayed diagnosis by private practitioners complicate matters in H1N1 cases. Many patients also lose vital time in getting referred from one hospital to another. “H1N1cases have reduced since August. This year, H1N1 infection was seen more in the Western Ghats region. That’s how Shivamogga district saw more number of cases,” said the officials. Sources said most H1N1 cases in Western Ghats region are finally being diagnosed in Udupi, Manipal and Mangaluru hospitals, which only means they are often not diagnosed in their places of origin. The highest number of H1N1 deaths in Karnataka this year has been reported from Shivamogga (17), followed by Davangere (12), Udupi (9) and Chitradurga (7). As per government data, no Bengalureans has died of H1N1, though the city reported 283 cases. In comparison, 77% of the state’s dengue cases are from Bengaluru, where there is high awareness among both doctors and patients, said officials.



Dengue and H1N1 are the two notifiable major infections affecting public health scenario in Karnataka. H1N1 is a seasonal infection seen largely during winter, whereas dengue is seen throughout the year. While both are viral infections, anti-viral treatment and vaccination is available only for H1N1. Dr Rajesh Mohan Shetty, chief of clinical services, lead consultant, department of critical care medicine, Manipal Hospitals (Whitefield), said it’s possible that some H1N1 cases are initially dismissed as common cold and fever, considering the symptoms are similar. “If fever is high and a patient is short of breath, it should not be ignored, nor treated as a case of common cold and fever,” he said. Dr Rajesh said close family members are at the risk of contracting H1N1 infection from a patient. “Anti-virus medication should be given to close relatives as well to prevent further spread of infection,” he added. Some acute H1N1patients also contract pneumonia, making such cases more complicated, leading to respiratory failure. To save such patients, private hospitals are even using artificial heart-lung machines. “We used extracorporeal membrane oxygenation for six patients this year. These could have otherwise proved fatal,” said Dr Rajesh. Observing that delay in first-line treatment for H1N1can cause complications, he said about 5-10% of 100 H1N1 infections can turn severe.



Fire Breaks Out at Tolichowki Shopping Complex, No Casualties

A fire broke out at Muskan shopping complex at Tolichowki on Sunday.



Hyderabad: A fire broke out at an under-construction bakery and cloth store at a shopping complex at Tolichowki on Sunday. Officials said no casualties were reported. The fire control room was alerted at around 9.50am, when the shop was closed. The fire started at clothing store on ground floor and spread to a portion of partially constructed bakery in the cellar. “We suspect a short circuit could have led to fire,” said station fire officer, Chandra Sekhar. However, all the clothes kept in the store were gutted in the fire. The officials are yet to estimate the property loss.

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