News Flash – 9 July 2018

National News



80 families homeless after Kandivli building ‘sinks’

Balconies of Bhushan Bhavan, a dilapidated building in Kurla, collapse; (left) a pillar of one of the six buildings at Kandivli’s Jai Punit Nagar cracks.



Mumbai: Around 80 families were rendered homeless after a four-storey building at Jai Punit Nagar in Kandivli (W) started ‘sinking’ when one of its pillars broke following heavy rainfall on Sunday. The 38-year-old building was repaired last year. “The building is settling. So, we asked the residents of the building as well as those living in the adjoining structure to vacate their flats and barricaded the area,” said Ramakant Biradar, assistant municipal commissioner, R-Central ward. Jai Punit Nagar Housing Society, which comprises six buildings, is embroiled in a legal battle with the builder, who has not yet given conveyance to the residents for redevelopment, said a civic official. Most of the residents have moved in with their relatives or friends for now. “We don’t have any hope of returning home soon as the BMC has barricaded the area,” said a resident, requesting anonymity. Another resident said when it’s started pouring on Sunday morning, they sensed something was amiss. “We noticed one of the pillars had broken and plaster was falling. It looked like the building was tilting,” he said. “The residents panicked, packed their essentials and valuables, and moved to a safe distance.” They also informed the BMC about the ‘tilting’ building. Civic officials took stock of the situation and advised the residents not to enter the building and told those in the adjoining building also to evacuate and barricaded the premises.


In another instance, the balconies of a three-storey dilapidated building, Bhushan Bhavan, in Kurla (W) collapsed on Sunday. No one was injured as most of the residents had already moved out after the building was declared dilapidated by the BMC. “But 15 families are still residing there. Also, there are shops on the ground floor,” said activist Shakeel Shaikh. There are over 619 dilapidated buildings in Mumbai that are categorized as ‘most dangerous’ buildings. The BMC cuts water and power supply to these buildings to force its occupants to vacate the premises. “But people continue to live in these death traps as they don’t have an alternative due to high property rates,” said senior architect Shirish Sukhatme of Practising Engineers, Architects and Town Planners Associations. “Buildings require proper maintenance after 30 years as metal corrosion is high due to the close proximity to the sea. Also, during monsoon, RCC structures can get weak due to water seepage. Such buildings need major repairs after 60 years”.



Rain woes held in check by weekly holiday


Mumbai: Though heavy showers led to water-logging in some parts of the city and affected road as well as rail traffic to some extent, a rainy Sunday meant Mumbaikars stayed indoors and enjoyed monsoon. Heavy rain is likely to continue in the city over the next few days, said weathermen. The India Meteorological Department’s Colaba observatory recorded 140.4mm rainfall between 8.30am and 8.30pm and in Santacruz, it was 66mm. Unlike Saturday, island city got more rainfall than suburbs. Worli and Dadar recorded 102mm and 74.2mm rain till 5.30pm as compared to Goregaon (56.4mm) and Jogeshwari. K S Hosalikar, IMD deputy director-general (western region), said over the next two days, the city will receive heavy rain. Catchment areas also received good rain and till Sunday, the seven lakes supplying water to the city were at 36% of the total water level required for the entire year.


Apart from the chronic water-logging spots, flooding was reported in A ward (Nariman Point) on Sunday. Locals said that A ward was water-logged this year due to Metro work. CR cancelled its mega block between Vidyavihar and Byculla after fast trains from Thane to CSMT were delayed due to flooding on tracks and slow trains too were behind schedule, said CR chief spokesperson Sunil Udasi. BEST couldn’t ply buses in 12 waterlogged areas and made diversions on 47 routes.



How metro is planning to solve a congestion problem it’s a part of


New Delhi: Located next to a major meeting point of roads going towards Gurgaon, Vasant Kunj and other south Delhi areas, the Chhatarpur metro station sees heavy traffic congestion, particularly at peak hours. The congregation of rickshaws, e-rickshaws, autos, buses and Grameen Sewa vehicles used for last mile connectivity by Delhi Metro users only add to the chaos. Private cars use the road beneath the elevated corridor of the Yellow Line to reach the metro parking, contributing to jammed roads, and, to top it all, there are bus stops on either side of the station where public transport coaches stop in a haphazard manner. The station, however, is all set to get a makeover with the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) embarking on a redevelopment project that not only promises smooth traffic flow outside the station but also a green plaza. This plan will also take care of the current problem of parking caused have the absence of designated areas for the use of autorickshaw, Grameen Sewa vehicles and others of the sort. At present, pedestrian movement at the station too is random and chaotic and that is why DMRC plans a more organised network of pathways. A DMRC spokesperson said traffic circulation is being reoriented as part of its multimodal integration plan. It intends to put in place another entry/ exit towards Mehrauli-Gurgaon Road for easy access to para-transit users like autos and to enable easy approach for pedestrians. “Parking bays have been created for autorickshaw and for Grameen Sewa and feeder buses. Cycle rickshaws will also be provided parking space,” said the DMRC spokesperson.


“The movement of buses will be regulated under the new plan so that the junction towards Vasant Kunj is decongested”. Apart from reorienting traffic movement, DMRC will develop a green plaza near the station. “A large vacant patch between the compound wall and slip road was available. It was not being fully utilised, so it will now become a green plaza with pedestrian walkways,” the spokesperson added. The plaza will have an Amphitheatre, landscaped green areas and sit-out places. A new toilet block will also be created there. The current chaos is perhaps the result of the rushed work on the Chhatarpur metro station when DMRC was required to hastily meet the construction deadline before the start of the Commonwealth Games in October 2010. The station had to be completed in a compacted period of just eight months. As a result, there could not have been much planning about the multimodal integration of transport providing last mile connectivity. The short time in which it was erected also gave the Chhatarpur metro station its unique standing as the only one in the entire Delhi Metro network made completely of steel. The land on which the station was to come up was under litigation, and DMRC couldn’t start construction work on schedule. By the time, the rail company acquired the land, there was no time to build a station of concrete and steel like the conventional metro stations. As a result, Chhatarpur got a stop that was built entirely of steel. In the eight years of its existence, the station area gradually turned into an island of chaos due to the unregulated movement of different modes of transport. With its new plan, DMRC promises to finally bring an end to the commuter’s nightmare.



Parking scuffle: JNTU prof attacks Security Guard



Hyderabad: Irked over a security guard asking his son to not park the car in the no-parking area, an associate professor of Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University Hyderabad (JNTUH) College of Engineering, assaulted the guard. In a video, said to be leaked by the victim, S Venkateswara Rao, associate professor and chairman of board of studies in Physics at JNTUH, can be seen thrashing security guard Kasiram. The faculty could be seen dragging the guard to the principal’s room and punching him. Kasiram is seen repeatedly apologising in the video. Although the incident happened on Saturday, it only came to light on Sunday after the video went viral. “A car came and was parked in the no-parking zone. I requested the person to park it in the designated area. He went and complained to his father, who happened to be a college faculty. A few minutes later, the father out and started hitting me. Even after apologising repeatedly, he did not stop assaulting me. I was even made to fall at his son’s feet and apologies,” said Kasiram. “The incident happened in my PA’s room when I was in a meeting. I have asked the security guard to lodge a formal complaint. A proper inquiry will be conducted and action will be initiated,” said E Saibaba Reddy, principal, JNTU College of Engineering, Hyderabad. He added, “As Rao belongs to SC community, it is even more necessary to conduct an inquiry from all angles as he could always say that Kasiram abused him. Rao’s actions are unacceptable and he will to face consequences”.



2.5L in jewellery, cash stolen from Chidambaram’s house

The Chidambarams decided to withdraw the complaint after surveillance videos showed that two maids who worked at the house were responsible for the theft.



Chennai: Two maids made away with jewellery worth Rs.1lakh, Rs.1.5 lakh in cash and six silk saris from former Union finance minister P Chidambaram’s house on Pycrofts Garden Road, the Nungambakkam police said on Sunday. Chidambaram’s wife Nalini, a lawyer, discovered the theft when she returned home on Saturday night to find a cupboard open and the valuables missing. Nalini’s manager filed a police complaint on Saturday night. The Chidambarams decided to withdraw the complaint after surveillance videos showed that two maids who worked at the house were responsible for the theft, Nungambakkam assistant commissioner of police Muthuvel Pandi said. “CCTV camera footage showed that the theft took place 10 days ago,” he said. “Nalini Chidambaram’s manager Murali lodged a written complaint on Saturday night with details of the stolen items and how much they were worth”. “When family members learned that the maids had committed the theft, they approached us on Sunday and made a written request to withdraw the complaint,” Pandi said. “The maids’ families have promised to return the valuables”. Chidambaram’s son Karti told TOI that there had been no theft of jewellery. He said the maids had stolen Rs.1.5 lakh but had returned the cash. He said the family had withdrawn the complaint.



International News



4 Thai boys out of cave, rest have to wait


Chiang Rai: Four of 12 Thai schoolboys were rescued from a flooded cave on Sunday as divers launched a daring and dangerous mission to free the children and their soccer coach who have been trapped underground for more than two weeks, officials said. Thirteen foreign divers and five members of Thailand’s elite navy SEAL unit guided the boys to safety through narrow, submerged passageways that claimed the life of a former Thai navy diver on Friday. As night fell, the operation to rescue the remaining eight boys — some as young as 11 and weak swimmers — and their coach was called off until Monday morning. “Today we managed to rescue and send back four children to Chiang Rai Prachanukrua Hospital safely,” the head of the rescue operation, Narongsak Osottanakorn, told a news conference. “… It’s a big success of all teams. We have thousands of people helping us with the operation”.


The rescue teams had rehearsed the plan for several days, Narongsak said, and had managed to drain the water level in the cave considerably. The teams now needed at least 10 hours to prepare for their next operation, involving about 90 divers in total, 50 of them from foreign countries, he said. A helicopter flew the four boys to the nearby city of Chiang Rai, where they were taken by ambulance to hospital. Their ordeal has drawn huge media attention in Thailand and abroad, and getting the boys out safely could be a boost for Thailand’s junta ahead of a general election next year.


Bursts of heavy monsoon rain soaked the Tham Luang Cave area in northern Chiang Rai province on Sunday and storms were expected in the coming weeks, increasing the risks in what has been called a “war with water and time” to save the team. The boys, aged between 11 and 16, went missing with their 25-year-old coach after soccer practice on June 23, setting out on an adventure to explore the cave complex near the border with Myanmar and celebrate a boy’s birthday. An Australian doctor who is part of the rescue mission checked the health of the boys on Saturday night and gave the all-clear for the operation to proceed. Of the 13-strong foreign dive team — mainly from Europe — three escorted the children, while the remainder were positioned along the dangerous first kilometer stretch, where the boys had to navigate through submerged passageways in some places no more than two feet (0.6 metre) wide. Thirteen medical teams were stationed outside the cave on Sunday each with its own helicopter and ambulance — one for each of 12 boys and their coach. A source at the Chiang Rai hospital said that five emergency response doctors were awaiting the boys and a further 30 doctors were on stand-by. “The teams here are happy the boys are being rescued but also anxious about the severity of the boys’ conditions,” she said. The area outside the hospital was cordoned off with police patrolling the area.





Turkey: Ten people were killed and 73 wounded when a train came off the rails in Turkey on Sunday after heavy rain and a landslide. The train was carrying 362 passengers and was headed to Istanbul from Edirne, the transport ministry said in a statement.

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