News Flash – 9 October 2017

National News



Potholes on Mumbai’s main runway stall take-offs for 4 hours



MUMBAI: Early morning departures from Mumbai airport were delayed by an average of an hour on Sunday because of the most unlikeliest of reasons—potholes on a functional runway. Unlike the city roads, keeping a potholed runway open for flight operations poses a serious risk as debris and other loose particles could endanger the safety of departing aircraft. Soon after the discovery, the main runway was closed for repairs and flight operations were carried out on the lesser-efficient secondary runway for close to four hours. The Mumbai airport handles over 900 departures and arrivals a day and the unscheduled closure of the main runway during the morning peak hours affected flight schedules severely. “Around 5.45am, just before dawn, the pilot of an aircraft that had lined up for departure reported that he could see two potholes and debris on the main runway 27,” said an air traffic control source. The affected portion, about 90 feet wide, lay between taxiways N1 and N3, the aircraft pathway to enter/exit the main runway. It was at the beginning of the runway, before the runway threshold, denoted by the piano key markings. After the pilot’s report, a runway inspection was carried out and the main runway was shut down for repairs. The Mumbai air traffic control issued a NOTAM (notice to airmen) stating that the main runway would be shut down from 6.17am to 10am IST. A Mumbai International Airport Pvt Ltd (MIAL) spokesperson said that repairs were completed in 30 minutes. But air traffic control sources said that operations were restored on the main runway only post 10am.


An airline commander, requesting anonymity, said that the report about potholes on the runway came as a surprise to many pilots. “How can a runway cave in like this? I’ve never seen anything like this in my 25-year career,” he said. “A runway cannot be like a municipal road. There should be no foreign objects like debris on the runway. A pothole has loose particles which could be sucked into the engine of a departing aircraft,” he said, alluding to the Air France Concorde crash. On 25 July 2000, a Concorde operating an Air France international charter flight from Paris to New York sped over debris on the runway during takeoff, blowing a tyre. A large chunk of the tyre debris punctured the underside of the aircraft wing and set off a rapid sequence of events which led to a ruptured fuel tank, failed engine and the aircraft crashed barely two minutes after takeoff, killing all on board. The sudden closure of the main runway hit flight schedules, especially those of the aircraft that had queued up along the taxiway to take off from the main runway in the early morning hours. “To move the aircraft queue over to line up for the secondary runway 14 was a time-consuming process that required a lot of coordination,” the air traffic control official added.


Advocate Yeshwant Shenoy, who was onboard SG 153 Spice Jet Mumbai-Kochi was one of the affected passengers. His flight was scheduled to depart at 9.30am. But it eventually departed only at 11.30am. “We were seated in the aircraft for almost 2 hours. The airline crew said that the main runway was shut and hence the delay,” he said. “I prefer waiting inside an aircraft for 2 hours to dying in a Concorde kind of crash,” he said adding that the said flight was packed with students who were on a study tour to Kerala. Shenoy is the petitioner who had moved the Bombay high court and those in Delhi, Chennai and Thiruvananthapuram over the obstacles along the aircraft approach path and other air safety issues at these airports. What also came as a surprise for pilots and airline staff was that the main runway of the Mumbai airport had been taken up for major runway resurfacing work early this year between February and April. “It wasn’t an annual repair. There are questions on how the runway surface could cave in barely months after major maintenance work was carried out. Moreover, the portion that came off isn’t one where aircraft touch down,” said an airline official.



Man saved after sharing suicide plans on WhatsApp



MUMBAI: A 27-year-old event photographer’s life was saved after police arrived at his Sakinaka residence minutes before he could have hanged himself from the ceiling of the mezzanine floor on September 6. A friend noticed the man’s WhatsApp status changing regularly with suicidal messages. His parents on the ground floor were unaware about his plans. Police received a post on the WhatsApp group, formed among locals during Ganesh festival, to solve their problems. “A mitra mandal secretary, who is a member of the group, informed the beat officer, sub-inspector Dev Bangar, at 4.30pm that his friend had posted photographs of committing suicide,” police said. On receipt of the alert, the beat officer and his staff rushed to the man’s residence. “It was one-storey structure. His parents were on the ground floor, unaware about the development. The police team rushed to the first floor but the door and window were shut from inside.


The police team tried to enter from the roof. The beat officer started negotiating with the man through a gap in the window and convinced him to change his mind after 15 minutes,” police said. Sakinaka senior inspector Avinash Dharmadhikari said it was domestic quarrel; his wife had left him a few months back and he was not on good terms with his parents, which drove him to plan the suicide. Bangar, and constables Anil Sule and Utekar negotiated with the man who was about to commit suicide. “The man was depressed due to domestic issues. He is normal now after he was counselled. The team’s timely arrival at the spot helped save the life of the man who was about to hang himself,” said Dharmadhikari.



CCTV footage helps police to conclude biker died of rash driving



MUMBAI: Vile Parle police probing a case of accident in which two—biker and pillion rider—died on September 23 has found out that it was not a case of hit-and-run. The biker identified as Mohammed Shaikh (20) and pillion rider Shahbaz Shaikh died after their bike skid on Andheri Sahar Road at around 1.30am. Initially police started the probe to identify the motorists suspected to have involved in a hit-and-run case. However, the police did not get a clue in the case. “Finally, we went through the closed-circuit television (CCTV) that was sought from the spot and found the bike skid and the duo on it was thrown off and hit the divider,” said a police officer of the Vile Parle police station. Shahbaz died on the spot while Mohammed died the next day. Police said both were resident of Vile Parle (East). “Mohammed was speeding rashly and was found taking zig-zag turns on the road after which the bike skid and crashed into the divider,” said a police officer. The police could not record statements of any of the two deceased. Police has registered a case against the deceased biker Mohammad for rash driving.



Cops plan special site for people from Northeast



NEW DELHI: Delhi Police will soon have a dedicated website for people from the Northeast region of the country living in the capital. The website will be integrated with their Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages to help cops deal with cases related to people from the Northeast more professionally. Police commissioner Amulya Patnaik has given his nod to the project. The website will be operated by a team from the special police unit for Northeast regions (SPUNER) and is expected to be functional soon. A section will also be available on the website for registering suggestions and complaints. “The website will contain helpline numbers and details of the agencies that are set up for aiding people from the NE states in the city,” said a senior police officer. The website would be updated with new guidelines and measures periodically. It would also have the contact numbers of the student representatives for anyone seeking help. The website is a part of the recommendations by the Bezbaruah committee report that was set up to do away with the racial discrimination of the people from the Northeast states in the other parts of the country. Delhi Police has implemented all the five recommendations, including the inclusion of the people from the north east into their day to day functioning. People from the seven North eastern states mainly face harassment and discrimination in Delhi while renting houses or landing in jobs due to cultural differences.



BBMP sets 10-day deadline to fill up 16,000 potholes

The Mysore Road stretch near Nayandahalli is in a terrible shape.



BENGALURU: The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike said on Sunday that it was hopeful the 16,000 potholes that dot the city’s roads will be filled up in 10 days. “On Sunday, I had a meeting with asphalting contractors, chief engineers, executive and assistant executive engineers. I told them that even if it rains, all the potholes should be filled up in next 10 days. The contractors have said they need more time. We will have another meeting to review the situation next Sunday ,” said BBMP commissioner N Manjunath Prasad. According to the commissioner, of the 32,000 potholes that dot Bengaluru’s 14,000km roads, 16,000 remain to be filled up. “In areas where it’s not raining, the hot-mix will be used, while in areas where it is, we will use a cold-mix,” he said. While using the hot-mix, the bitumen is heated to 150 degrees Celsius and then mixed with gravel. The temperature is maintained at 100 degrees Celsius when the mix is used to fill potholes. For the cold-mix, an emulsion with gravel is used to fill potholes. “While the hot-mix can only be used in warm and sunny weather, the cold-mix can be applied even when it rains. Its lifespan, however, is only 2-3 months, as it is a temporary measure. We will soon begin white-topping work on the city’s roads,” Prasad said.


According to BBMP officials, there are 3,250 potholes on the 1,400-km long arterial sub-arterial roads in the city. The rest of the 14,000-km roads are called ward roads. “Work orders have already been issued for asphalting 500km of roads. We are waiting for drain work to get over to begin asphalting here. Another 400km roads are within the contract period and fixing potholes is the responsibility of the contractors. The remaining 500km roads are old and are no longer under the contract period. Of these, potholes on 400km roads will be filled using the three python machines. Contractors have been asked to fill potholes on the remaining 100km roads,” Prasad said. “In another three days, all details of the contractors will be put up on the BBMP website,” Prasad added.


Karnataka proposes criminal liability: The Karnataka government has proposed four key changes to the Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill that is pending before a select committee of the Rajya Sabha. The recommendations include making the road construction authority criminally liable for accidents arising out of potholes and unscientific humps. A case in point is the Udupi district administration, which on Saturday decided to send a notice to the NHAI for the pothole which caused the death of a toddler last week. “If we make road construction authorities such as NHAI, PWD and municipal corporation criminally liable with penalty for accidents, there will be a sense of fear among officials who will ensure pothole-free roads and scientific humps,” said D Roopa, DIG and commissioner, road safety and traffic.



Sinking roads? 2nd cave-in in 2 weeks, 7th in last two years



HYDERABAD: A road caved in at Jayanagar (Usha Mullapudi road) in Kukatpally in the early hours of Sunday, causing inconvenience to road-users. It is the second such incident in the city in the last fortnight and seventh in the last two years. Though civic officials identified the cause of the sinkhole, they are yet to plug the pipelines till last reports came in. On September 26, a water line had suffered a breach leading to road cave-in at Tadbund X Roads. Around 6am, the sinkhole surfaced at Jayanagar on the Kukatpally-Jagadgirigutta-Gajularamaram road after a water pipeline (200-mm diameter) suffered a breach. Soon after the crater was discovered, Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply & Sewerage Board (HMWS&SB) rushed to the location, put up signboards and barricades as a precautionary measure. Initially, the HMWS&SB officials suspected sinkhole was due to damage to the water pipeline. “We took up earth excavation.


While the work was on, sewer water gushed in and filled the pit. Then, we started de-watering and informed GHMC officials,” HMWS&SB deputy general manager, (O&M), Division-IX, KPHB, V Venkateswara Rao told TOI. “The 600-mm diameter sewer trunk, laid three years ago, got damaged and soil erosion occurred. Subsequently, the water line, two-and-half-feet below it, too got damaged,” GHMC executive engineer, Kukatpally, G Sridhar said. Once the GHMC officials complete their work, the water board would lay the pipeline. “Heavy volume of vehicles on the stretch could be the reason for the cave-in,” the water board official said. “We will complete the work by Monday afternoon,” he added. Water supplies to Bhagyanagar, Jaya Nagar, Eenadu Colony and Vijayanagar Colony were hit, while police diverted traffic on to alternate routes.



Doctors sound health alert after rain impact on virals



KOLKATA: Dengue is not the only ailment that the city needs to be cautious of. With the monsoon yet to make a retreat, health experts say that a host of other viral diseases are on the prowl. The mosquito menace will remain till the monsoon withdraws completely. Apart from dengue, doctors are also getting cases of malaria. “Dengue is a big issue at the moment. But apart from that, we are also getting cases of viral gastroenterology, common cold, human meta pneumo virus and gastroenterology. In fact, encephalitis may rear its head towards the end of the season,” said Dr Arindam Biswas, consultant general medicine at RN Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences. Light rain followed by dry spells serves as a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes, especially the Aedes Egypti, the mosquito that carries the dengue virus. According to the Met office, monsoon is yet to make a retreat and the city is expected to get rain for few more days.


“So, the mosquito problem will remain. Apart from dengue, we are also getting cases of malaria and upper respiratory tract infection,” said Dr Shyamashish Bandyopadhyay, senior consultant medicine at Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals. Amid the dengue onslaught, there is panic among patients in case of any kind of fever. Doctors said that sometimes the symptoms are similar to that of dengue. “We get cases like acute gastroenterology, typhoid and jaundice which are common in kids during monsoon. Gene rally, such problems do not persist beyond September. But we continue to get these cases now. Prolonged rain might be a reason for this,” said Dr Prabhas Prasun Giri, Paediatric intensive care in-charge at Institute of Child Health.



3 men attack ATM Security Guard



CHENNAI: Three unidentified men attacked a Security Guard of a private bank’s ATM following a verbal altercation with them in Maraimalai Nagar on Friday. The injured guard identified as Suresh, 33, of Guduvancherry, told the investigating officers that the trio got into the ATM kiosk and were discussing something. “The trouble started when I intervened and questioned them,” he said. Suresh was admitted to a hospital and based on his complaint, a case has been registered. further investigations are on.



International News



Magnitude 6.1 quake strikes under sea off Tonga



LONDON: An earthquake of 6.1 magnitude struck under the sea 170km (105 miles) west of Neiafu in Tonga at 1404 GMT on Sunday, at a depth of 10km, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The survey revised down an initial reading of 6.4. There was no tsunami warning in effect from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.



Gunman kills two Security Guards at Saudi royal palace



RIYADH: A gunman shot dead two Saudi guards and wounded three others at the gate of the royal palace in the Red Sea city of Jeddah, the interior ministry said. Royal guards killed the gunman, identified by the ministry as a 28-year-old Saudi national armed with a Kalashnikov and three grenades. “An outpost of the royal guard came under fire by a person who got out of a Hyundai car,” the ministry said in a statement on Saturday carried by the official Saudi Press Agency. “He was immediately dealt with and his cowardly act also resulted in the martyrdom” of two royal guards, it added. The US embassy in Saudi Arabia had earlier cautioned its citizens over reports of the attack. “Due to the possibility of ongoing police activity, American citizens are advised to exercise caution when travelling through the area,” the embassy said in a brief statement. The warning comes after the Saudi police raided hideouts of a “terror” cell linked to the Islamic State group this week, killing two people and arresting five others, according to the national security agency. The State Security Agency said police raided three hideouts in the capital Riyadh and exchanged gunfire at one of them, the SPA news agency reported on Thursday. Since late 2014, IS has claimed a series of bombings and shootings against Shias and security forces in the Sunni-majority kingdom. Saudi Arabia is a member of the US-led international coalition that has been battling the Sunni extremist group in Syria and Iraq.



Russia strikes kill 120 IS fighters, over 60 ‘foreign mercenaries’ in Syria: Moscow



MOSCOW: Some 120 Islamic State fighters and 60 foreign mercenaries were killed in a series of Russian air strikes in Syria over the past 24 hours, the defence ministry in Moscow said. “A command post of the terrorists and up to 80 fighters including nine natives of the Northern Caucasus were destroyed in the area of Mayadeen,” the ministry said, adding some 40 IS fighters were killed around the town of Abu Kamal.

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