Portal to help track uninsured vehicles
NEW DELHI: Amid growing concern over vehicles plying on roads without even the mandatory third-party insurance, the road transport ministry has asked insurance companies to share details of insured vehicles with the government as part of an elaborate exercise to track the offenders. The ministry plans to host data on uninsured cars and two-wheelers on an online platform that can be accessed by every state transport department and traffic police to crack the whip on those who do not renew their motor insurance policies. Currently, enforcement agencies need to physically verify whether a vehicle has insurance cover only after stopping vehicles. Digital availability of data will improve enforcement, although critics said several vehicles were not registered at the correct address or the change was not communicated. Sources in Insurance Information Bureau (IIB) said about 6.5 crore vehicles have insurance cover against approximately 21 crore registered vehicles. Since a large share of registered vehicles are off the road, junked or are unusable, officials estimate 50-55% of the vehicles on the road are insured. While almost all commercial vehicles have a cover as they have to go for annual renewal of their registration, in case of passenger cars, the insured population is 70-80%. Two-wheelers have the lowest coverage of around 40-50%.
This segment accounts for around 70% share of all vehicles registered in the country. Driving any vehicle without third-party (TP) insurance is an offence and attracts up to Rs 1,000 fine with a possible jail term of three months, a rarity. These vehicles pose serious risk as accident victims involved in such vehicles face the risk of getting inadequate compensation. Sources said one of the reasons behind low TP coverage is the policy adopted by insurance companies to push comprehensive policies (TP and own-damage that covers theft etc.), which is expensive. TP insurance costs only 30% of the comprehensive insurance. In 2012-13, comprehensive motor insurance covers sold in the country were four times higher than TP, data available with IIB showed. Though a Supreme Court panel on road safety had directed insurance regulator IRDA to sell TP for cars and two-wheelers for three and five years respectively at the time of registration, IRDA has said it won’t be possible since they notify the premium every year.
Delhi: Traffic cops above ASI rank to carry side arms from next week
NEW DELHI: Traffic policemen above the rank of assistant sub-inspector will now flaunt a sidearm. Police commissioner Amulya Patnaik, at a meeting with over 3,500 traffic cops, asked the department to implement within 10 days changes that include monitoring real-time traffic situation on mobile phones and diverting traffic accordingly. Two years back, a similar proposal was made to equip policemen posted on night duty with weapons. The plan, however, was never implemented. “Traffic policemen are present on the road through the day, which makes their job strenuous. The objective of our interaction was to motivate them to take up measures so that their job becomes easier. We have asked them to evolve with new strategies every day,” said Patnaik. The top cop also advised policemen to focus on regulations so that a traffic snarl can be prevented even before they occur. “We will focus on pre-emptive regulation of traffic. Every cop on duty will monitor the situation and prepare a regulatory plan based on time, season and occasion. The idea is to make traffic management more situation intensive,” said special commissioner (traffic) Dependra Pathak. According to the new orders, policemen above ASI rank, posted at barricades for traffic control, will carry a sidearm like their counterparts in the districts. Traffic cops posted at border posts become victims of criminals trying to evade prosecution and often put their lives at risk.
A month back, a traffic policeman was mowed down by a truck on Salimgarh bypass when he tried to flag him down. Patnaik advised the traffic police to form a strategy to flag down vehicles on highways so that incidents of rogue drivers hitting cops in a bid to get away can be avoided. Policemen have also been asked not to form large groups to flag down errant drivers. Cops can instead click photographs of rogue drivers and prosecute them later if they are found to be acting violently. The police commissioner also asked the area traffic inspectors and ACPs to chalk out trouble spots for congestions and bottlenecks and come up with solutions to decongest them. Policemen have been asked to survey the areas under them and have a full knowledge of the daily traffic situation. Moreover, senior traffic police officers have also been asked to be on ground during peak hours to ensure that the flow of traffic is not disrupted. The cops also requested for new equipment’s, including heavy cranes to remove buses and trucks, that frequently breakdown on the roads. Traffic policemen would eventually be provided with faster motorbikes and vehicles so that they can reach the source of a snarl or chase and challan violators.
400 vehicles charred in fire in Indore
The fire broke out allegedly due to short circuit.
INDORE: Over 400 second hand two-wheelers were charred in a fire that engulfed three automobile showrooms in front of Kailash Mandapamnear Agrasen Square here late night on Saturday creating panic among the residents. The blaze was triggered after an alleged short circuit at New Pooja Autodeal owned by one Kailash Verma and spread to two adjacent shops Jai Shreeram Autodeal and Hariom Autodeal owned by Santosh Rai and Sachin Chouhan respectively. Fire department received a phone call from a resident around 1:30 pm that they had seen smoke coming out of the shop. However, the fire tenders reached the spot almost after an hour. Till then, the fire had spread to two more shops in the area. After a while, four fire tenders were rushed to the spot and were engaged in bringing the fire under control. The locals claimed that the smoke could be seen billowing from a long distance. A panic-like situation was witnessed in the area as the vehicles burnt in blasts. “There was little amount of petrol in most of the vehicles due to which blasts were heard,” said Sumit Choudhary, an eyewitness. Police claimed that the family living on the top floor of a commercial complex was safely evacuated.
Police also contained the fire in the area and did not let it spread to the nearby slum. The shops were being used to sell second hand vehicles, most of them two-wheelers. The vehicles were parked close to each other inside these shops, as a result the flames spread rapidly, said the police official. About 400 two-wheelers were gutted, the official said, adding documents related to vehicles were also reduced to ashes. “The fire could not be controlled for several hours. It took almost 20 tankers and foam to douse the flames. The fire continued for several hours and gutted the entire place and three shops. However, we were able to control it from spreading to the nearby commercial complex,” said one of the fire officials. The owners of the shops were also present on the spot. They claimed that they had suffered huge losses. Meanwhile, despite it being late night, several people had gathered at the spot to witness the incident. Fire officials claimed that they had to use JCB machines to break the walls to contain the fire.
Traffic inspector saves lives of mishap victims
NAVI MUMBAI: Two Panvel residents, Praful Nikharage (32) and Vikas Nikharage (30), who met with an accident on the Sion-Panvel highway, were rushed to a hospital by assistant traffic inspector Pravin Pande on Sunday morning. Pande had gone to a fuel station near Kamothe bus stop, where he saw two mishap victims lying on the road. Pande said, “There were onlookers around but no one helped the injured. One of the victims was unconscious while the other was injured. The victims were taken to MGM Hospital in Kamothe. The unconscious victim was taken to hospital on side sleep mode (as per first aid) while the other victim supported him on the vehicle”. A medical report is awaited. The two victims had met with an accident after a tyre of their scooter that they were riding on reportedly burst. Praful’s wife claimed that the men fell on a pothole on the highway. The duo was headed to Mumbai for shopping for Vikas’s wedding.
Dengue: Three more deaths in Kolkata, fringes
Stagnant water at an under-construction site.
KOLKATA: Dengue claimed one more life on the northern fringes of the city on Sunday afternoon. The deceased has been identified as 22-year old Avishek Tewari, a resident of Belgharia, who was admitted to Fortis hospital on Saturday. The certificate issued by the hospital mentions dengue hemorrhagic shock as one of the reasons for his death. Meanwhile, two more suspected dengue deaths were reported from Baranagar and South Dum Dum’s Patipukur in the last 24 hours. The deceased were identified as Bipasha Shaw, a Class-III student from Baranagar, and homemaker Anu Das of Patipukur. While Shaw died at RG Kar Medical College & Hospital on Saturday night, Das (36) died at a private nursing home in Salt Lake on Sunday afternoon. A resident of Daktarbagan in Baranagar municipality ward No. 18, eight-year-old Shaw was first admitted to Baranagar State General Hospital with high fever on Tuesday and then shifted to R G Kar on Thursday after being diagnosed with ‘NS1 positive’. The tests were done at a Baranagar pathological laboratory. “She was suffering from fever for over a week. After admitting her to the Baranagar hospital, her condition kept deteriorating and we had to shift her to RG Kar hospital. She was put on life support after her condition deteriorated on Saturday. Her platelet count was very low and she was under severe respiratory distress. She died around 10.40pm,” said the girl’s mother Pinki Shaw. Bipasha was a student of Baranagar’s Batakrishna Primary School.
The girl’s father Buddhadeb Shaw, a trader, alleged his daughter wasn’t being treated properly. “Despite our repeated appeals, the doctors at RG Kar hospital didn’t attend to my daughter properly. We are yet to receive her final blood report from the hospital,” added Shaw. The girl’s death comes hours after a promoter-cum-cable TV operator Biswajit Deb (35) from Belgharia reportedly died of dengue at a private hospital off EM bypass on Saturday morning. Deb’s residence at Belgharia’s Nawdapara is barely 3.5kms from Shaw’s Daktarbagan house. The death of the homemaker at Natunpally Patipukur, around 5kms from Nagerbazar, has triggered panic among locals. The woman was undergoing treatment at a nursing home in Salt Lake. Locals later protested when MLA Sujit Bose went to Patipukur to attend a programme. They alleged that pockets of South Dum Dum are turning into breeding grounds for mosquitoes due to lack of preventive measures. “We are now scared. Besides Deb’s death, reports of people testing positive for dengue have been coming in from the neighbourhood on a regular basis since the last two months. Several persons in our locality are down with fever,” said Balaram Bose, a resident of Basudebpur. Meanwhile, locals agitated at Shibaprada Pal Pally at ward No. 11 in Belgharia, where Deb lived. They alleged inaction on the part of Kamarhati civic authorities. A group of local women also gheraoed and manhandled a local Trinamool leader Meghnad Chakraborty.
Man tries to make away with cash from woman at ATM, held
CHENNAI: A man was arrested after he tried to escape with the cash he grabbed from an elderly woman in an ATM kiosk in MGR Nagar on Sunday. Passersby nabbed Vijayan after Dilshath Begum, raised an alarm. The accused was later identifies as Vijayan, 35, of MGR Nagar Police said Vijayan noticed Begum struggling to withdraw cash, entered the ATM and offered to help her. “He seemed to be well-meaning so Begum handed over her debit card to him and divulged her PIN,” a police officer said. “She asked him to withdraw 10,000 but he withdrew 20,000. When she tried to stop him, he pushed her aside and took to his heels”. Passersby heard Begum cry for help. They chased Vijayan and caught him. “He admitted during interrogation that he had run out of money for booze,” the officer said. “Vijayan targeted the woman because she was alone. He observed Begum for more than five minutes and ensured that nobody was around when he struck. We are checking to see if Vijayan has been involved in any other criminal cases”. It is not advisable to disclose PIN to strangers or hand over your credit/debit cards to them, the officer said, as a warning to members of the public. “Gullible people fall prey to conmen who know how to get them to reveal their details,” another police officer said. “We have issued several advisories for safe banking practices. Fraudsters are constantly devising new ways to elicit PIN and banking passwords of customers. Banks too are trying to keep customers safe”.
Bomb hoax: D-mart downs shutters for 2 hours
A teenager created a false bomb scare in D-mart on Sunday.
AHMEDABAD: An exchange of words between a cashier and a teenager created a false bomb scare in D-mart on Sunday leading to downing of shutters of the retail outlet near Shivranjani Crossroads in Satellite. Security, concerned over the exchange watched on CCTV, issued a bomb alert and pandemonium reigned in the retail mall as panicked consumers rushed to exit leaving their shopping items and trolleys behind. The mall closed at 4pm and took two hours to reopen. Interestingly, the story took a new turn when, though no bomb was found, it was discovered that the 19-year-old, whose talk had led to the bomb scare, is Chirag Jadeja, the son of multi-crore Ponzi scam accused Ashok Jadeja of Makarba. Ashok had swindled people of crores in the name of local deity ‘Sikotar Mata’ in 2009. He was arrested in the same year. According to details disclosed to police by the supermarket officials, a teenager dressed in a blue checked shirt and blue jeans and with a white handkerchief wrapped round his head and face – while paying his bills through a credit card at about 3pm, had told the cashier that a bomb will burst in the mall at 4pm. The teenager then sped away on a brand new scooter without a registration number. “Security officials at the establishment panicked and rang up the police control room about 45 minutes later, informing us about a bomb threat,” said a senior police official.
Soon police cars with sirens accompanied by teams of bomb disposal squad rushed to the supermarket. “We found it was a false call and asked the super market authorities to reopen the market which was packed as it was a Sunday. We then traced the credit card used by the teenager and found it to be in the name of one Neetu Jadeja of Makarba,” said a senior police official. Police sources said on reaching Neetu Jadeja’s residence in Makarba the cops found that her credit card was used by her son Chirag, who had just cleared his class 12 science exams. “During primary interrogation, Chirag told us he was frustrated standing in the payment line for long and told the cashier that his box would explode now. When the cashier said “what” Jadeja said he is just joking. We think that it was a case of misunderstanding, otherwise Jadeja would not have used the credit card issued in the name of his mother,” said an investigator. Cops said that Jadeja told police that he usually ties handkerchiefs to avoid pollution and heat. “At present we have not booked Jadeja but made an entry in the police station diary,” said a police official. SOG of crime branch picked up Chirag for questioning and further probe is on.
Toll in Mogadishu attack rises to 27, police chief sacked
Somali security forces and civilians walk among damages at the scene of a blast on October 29, 2017.
MOGADISHU: The death toll from a deadly weekend attack on a hotel in Mogadishu has risen to 27, the Somali government said on Sunday, announcing the dismissal of the country’s police and intelligence chiefs. The latest toll was given by Internal Security Minister Mohamed Abukar Islow at a cabinet meeting in which ministers approved the dismissal of police chief Abdihakim Dahir Said and intelligence agency boss Abdillahi Mohamed Sanbalooshe.
Indian among 31 killed as bus plunges into river in Nepal
KATMANDU: At least 31 people, including an Indian woman, were killed on Saturday after an overcrowded bus veered off a road and plunged into a river in central Nepal’s Dhading district, police said. The Kathmandu-bound bus from Rajbiraj fell into the Trishuli River while negotiating a turn at Ghatabesi, 70 km west of Kathmandu, around 5:00 am, said Superintendent of Police, Dhading, Dhruba Raj Raut. Security personnel, including those from the Nepal Army and Armed Police Force, rescued 16 injured passengers who had fallen into the river along the Prithvi highway. The rescue teams have pulled out 28 dead bodies so far and the search was on for other missing passengers, according to The Kathmandu Post. According to the police, most of the deceased were from Saptari district and 12 of them have been identified. One Indian, Mamata Devi Thakur, also died in the accident, the report said. All injured passengers were taken to nearby hospitals, but two of them who suffered serious injuries were rushed to Kathmandu for treatment, the police said. According to preliminary reports, the accident occurred because the driver failed to take the high-speed bus under control at the turning point due to poor visibility, the police said. Altogether 52 passengers were travelling on the bus, police said. While the police prima facie blamed visibility for the accident, such mishaps are not uncommon in the Himalayan nation and occur mostly due to poor infrastructure and reckless driving.
British Navy fires nine sailors from nuclear submarine
LONDON: Nine British sailors assigned to a nuclear submarine have been discharged from the Royal Navy after failing compulsory drug tests, Britain‘s ministry of defence has confirmed. The service personnel, stationed aboard HMS Vigilant — one of four Royal Navy submarines equipped with nuclear missiles — were dismissed after all tested positive for an illegal substance. “We do not tolerate drugs misuse by service personnel,” a Royal Navy spokesperson said. “Those found to have fallen short of our high standards face being discharged from service”. The spokesperson also confirmed the navy had launched an investigation into other service personnel on HMS Vigilant over allegations of inappropriate relationships, detailed in British media reports this month. “We can confirm an investigation is underway, but it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage,” the spokesperson added. “Any allegations of wrongdoing are taken very seriously and will be dealt with appropriately”. HMS Vigilant is one of four Vanguard-class submarines in the British navy. Each vessel is equipped with up to eight Trident missiles armed with nuclear warheads.