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Monday, December 15, 2014

Firemen douse blaze in highrise in Mumbai Central, no casualties

3 Need Surgery; Fire & Smoke Spread Via Duct
A major tragedy was averted at Mumbai Central on Monday morning when fire-fighters were able to douse a blaze in the 21-storey railway quarters opposite the station in an hour without any casualties. But over a dozen of the 60 people evacuated had to be hospitalized; a few received serious burns and will need surgery.

The fire brigade received an SOS around 11.15am and tenders from several fire stations like Worli, Byculla and Bhendi Bazaar were rushed to the ground-plus-21-floors building known to be over two decades old. Though equipped with sprinklers and extinguishers, none of the equipment worked indicating poor maintenance and awareness.

Fire officials said preliminary reports indicate the flames started in a service duct in the shaft of the staircase, which was encroached upon by old furniture, among other things.

Unconfirmed reports said the fire started from a stove in a servant quarters on the fourth floor. The servant quarters on the fourth floors were the worst hit.

"The fire started spreading from one of the mid-level floors and went upwards and downwards simultaneously through the duct. However, it spread towards the top floors with higher intensity. We immediately started rescuing people through the stairway and also through our ladders outside," said P S Rahangdale, the deputy chief fire officer.

The fire was doused in an hour but cooling operations continued till 3pm. Every floor in the building is known to have two apartments and two servant quarters which are outhouses as well. As the duct was closer to the servant quarters, those living in them were more affected. The smoke spread quickly after the fire started, making it difficult for those in the top floors to breathe. "Initially a few of the residents were extremely afraid, but we managed to bring them all down safely," said Rahangdale.

As many as 14 persons had to be rushed to the nearby BYL Nair and Jagjivan Ram hospitals. Of the seven taken to Nair hospital, three had sustained serious burns. "They will require surgery. The patients have sustained around 10-18% burns. All are stable and have been kept under observation," said dean Dr Ramesh Bharmal. Six patients admitted to the Jagjivan Ram hospital were discharged by evening. "Patients had discomfort due to smoke inhalation. Only one patient has been kept under observation," said Sharat Chandrayan, chief PRO, Western Railway.

Residents were relieved a major tragedy had been avert ed. An officer who lives on the 18th floor said he was at work when he got a call from a help who was in the building.

"I was told there was smoke and a fire had broken out. I rushed to the building. I am glad everyone has been brought out safely and there has not been a calamity."

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Five Indian cos in global list of firms fighting climate change

Have Moved On To Low-Carbon Growth Path, Says Report
At the time when the government is exploring various options to move on to a low-carbon growth path, five Indian companies have made it to the global list of firms that have shown leadership in adopting measures to cut their climate-damaging emissions.

The list reveals which companies around the world are doing the most to combat climate change.

It has 187 companies from across the globe that illustrate that a low-carbon future does not mean low profit. Most of the companies performing better in terms of their efforts to combat climate change are in Europe, followed by the US and Japan.

The Indian companies that made it to the list -CDP Climate Performance Leadership Index 2014--are: Essar Oil, Larsen & Toubro, Tech Mahindra, Tata Consultancy Services and Wipro. This new global index has been prepared by the CDP-an international not-for-profit organization -at the behest of 767 investors who represent more than a third of the world's invested capital. The CDP (formerly Carbon Disclosure Project) is the only global system for companies and cities to measure, disclose, manage and share vital environmental information. "Awarded an `A' grade for their performance, they (the companies in the list) earn a position on the first global ranking of corporate efforts to mitigate climate change", said the organization in a statement while releasing the report comprising the names of the companies and the parametersmethodology followed on Wednesday.

It said, "Collectively the climate performance leaders have reduced their total (absolute) emissions by 33 million metric tons in the past reporting year, equivalent to turning London's car owners into cyclists for twoand-a-half years".

Paul Simpson, chief executive officer of CDP said, "The businesses that have made it onto our first ever global list of climate performance leaders are to be congratulated for their progress; they debunk economic arguments against reducing emissions. However, global emissions continue to rise at an alarming rate.Businesses and governments must raise their climate ambition."

"The data shows that there is neither an excuse nor the time for lethargy," he added. The India 2014 report titled "Indian companies decouple business growth from carbon emissions" reveals that energy efficiency is the key means by which companies are acting on climate change.

"Over 60% of surveyed companies are introducing process energy efficiency initiatives, consequently, 24% have reduced their absolute emissions and an additional 26% have reduced their emissions intensity while driving business growth and profitability", said the report.

The report that analyzed the responses from the top 200 Indian companies by market capitalization found that the companies are now better at identifying and prioritizing the climate change issues they want to actively manage.

The occasion also saw release of the CDP India 200 Climate Change Report 2014, showing how the Indian companies are using their increased commitment to climate change action to drive innovative sustainable businesses processes.

According to the report, the Indian companies expressed their eagerness to engage with the government to keep abreast with regulatory changes.

This will ensure that they can take necessary precautions and proactively maintain their competitive advantage and brand image.


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