News Flash – 7 June 2019

National News



Gas Build-up Blows up Manhole covers, rips Asphalt off road


Kolkata: An explosion in the sewer line opposite Tangra police station, triggered by gas build-up in the choked drains, startled residents and led to momentary panic on Thursday afternoon. The explosion blew up five sewage covers and ripped the asphalt off a 600metre stretch of Gobinda Khatik Road. A similar explosion had occurred in the same area around four years ago. The rather quiet afternoon near the railway bridge in Tangra was rocked by a deafening sound on Thursday. Residents having their lunch or taking an afternoon nap jumped up and rushed out to see what had happened. What met their eyes was a scene they had witnessed four years ago. Asphalt on a stretch of the road had been ripped apart and five manhole covers had been blown off. A thick smoke that had a foul smell was emitting from the open manholes. “I was serving lunch to my husband when I heard the sound. I rushed out immediately to see what had happened. There was a haze outside. Smoke was billowing out of the manhole,” recounted Usha Rana, a local resident. By then, others from the neighbourhood, too, had rushed out as did cops from the police station. After the smoke cleared, they discovered that the damage had happened along half a kilometre stretch and altogether five manhole covers had been blown off by the explosion in the underground sewer line. While locals were surveying the damage, Rana alerted the councillor.



Swapan Samaddar, MMiC (bustee development and environment), reached the spot soon afterwards. He later said the explosion had possibly happened due to a build-up of gases released by decomposition of garbage in the drain. “There are grates for the gases to escape but they had got choked, trapping the gases. The pressure had built up and it ultimately exploded,” he explained. Fire department officer Dipanakar Sarkar, who also arrived to inspect the cause of the explosion, felt lack of regular maintenance could have led to the incident. “As the temperature rises, the gas expands. With the pipeline already full, the expanding gas needed an outlet and the weakest ones were the drain covers that were blown up as the gas escaped,” he said. Hours after the explosion, a KMC drainage department team arrived to clear the sewage lines. “It was an accident. The drain inside the manhole is a brick sewer line built in the pre-Independence era. There is no problem in the drainage line. Our responsibility now is to restore the road as soon as possible,” said Samaddar. Anima Ray, another resident of the locality, said it was pure luck that the explosion had happened in the afternoon when there are few people on the road. “Had it happened a couple of hours earlier or later, it could have caused injuries. This road is a busy one and remains crowded. Our kids play on either side of the road as there is no park nearby,” she added.



After Snatching case, CMRL to install more CCTV Cameras in Stations

BOOSTING SECURITY: A man robbed a woman of her gold chain at Central Metro station’s ticket counter on Monday.



Chennai: Two days after a US based woman was relieved of her gold chain inside Central Metro station, Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) officials have begun strengthening the security system at the station, installing more cameras to keep an eye on visitors. Central Metro, the largest underground transit hub at 30,000sqm and at 28m depth, so far has nearly 80 CCTV cameras. Efforts are on to install more cameras in blind spots not covered by the existing ones. “We are increasing the number to 150 cameras at Central Metro alone. They will be installed in 15 days,” said a CMRL official. “The wiring work is being done at present”. Officials have also begun efforts to increase the number of cameras in other newly opened stations between Washermenpet and AG-DMS. The stations are designed to have nearly 70 dome cameras at various locations. A total of 200 cameras will be installed in these stations, officials said.



In addition, all stations are to have armed personnel at the entrances. But commuters complained that several stations such as LIC and Thousand Lights do not have security personnel at entry points and added that there were quite a few spots which do not have cameras nor are they covered by cameras nearby. Officials said more security personnel will be deployed across all stations to ensure passenger safety. Around 10:30pm on Monday, a man robbed a 65-year-old woman of her 6.5 sovereign gold chain The victim and her husband arrived by the Shatabdi Express and reached the metro station to board a train to Vadapalani. When her husband was at the ticket counter, a man, who had followed her into the station, snatched the chain and escaped. The Periamet police, who registered a complaint lodged by the couple, said the CCTV cameras in the area did not capture a proper image of the snatcher.



International News



Russian ‘Metal Thieves’ Steal part of Rail Bridge



Russia: The theft of a 56-tonne, 23-metre bridge structure has prompted a criminal investigation in Russia’s Arctic region. Aerial footage circulated on Russian social media in late May showed that the two opposing sections of the bridge were intact, but the central span had mysteriously disappeared. The heist took place at a long-dismantled bridge over the Umba river in the Arctic region of Murmansk, which borders with Finland. Residents realised only days after the theft took place. Russian social network V Kontakte, which posted about the theft along with photos, speculated: “Most likely, metalworkers pulled the structure down into the water, and there they slowly took it apart into scrap pieces.” It noted that it wasn’t the first episode of scrap metal thieves damaging infrastructure in the region, citing attempts to steal transmission towers in the nearby Apatite in summer 2018.

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