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Saturday, May 31, 2014

Storm kills 9, leaves Delhi powerless




A massive dust storm and thunder squall stopped the city in its tracks on Friday evening, bringing relief from the severe heat but left a trail of death, destruction and chaos across it. Nine people were killed as trees fell on cars or strong winds toppled brick piles while a crashing luggage pile at the airport killed a loader.

More than 350 trees were uprooted, leading to traffic jams across the city, power supply was snapped for up to six hours in several parts of the city and Metro services were disrupted just ahead of evening rush hour. The erratic power supply is further expected to trigger water shortage in the city on Saturday.

Until 4pm, Delhi was preparing for a heat wave, with the weather giving away nothing but a hot, dry summer day.

The Met office had reported the presence of a light haze over Delhi during the first half of the day because of which many thought that cloud formation would not be

possible. By 4.15 pm, the skies darkened and 15 minutes later, a storm was raging, catching commuters unawares.

The Met office put down the massive thunder squall to a 14km-tall cumulonimbus cloud that settled over the capital, splitting it in half, causing south, southwest and west

Delhi to face its lashing tail.

IGI Airport reported a windspeed of 114.8 kmph which resulted in massive disruption of air traffic. A loader was crushed to death by a heavy luggage pile while three aircraft were damaged as stray step ladders rammed into them.

Dr RK Jenamani, director in-charge, IGI Met, said Friday's was the most severe dust storm recorded at the airport in terms of wind speed after eight years. "The storm was strongest in the tail end area of a cumulonimbus cloud.

The 14km high cloud cell had come from Chandigarh and was moving at a speed of 10-15 kmph across Delhi. While this brought extremely strong winds, it did not cause much rain," he said.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

DAREDEVILS RISK LIVES TO DRAW CROWDS AT ZOO




This fearless female crocodile handler dices with death on a daily basis -all for £4 a day. She and other handlers wow audiences at the Pattaya Crocodile Farm in Thailand by putting their heads in the powerful reptile's mouth and even kissing it on the nose. Despite the obvious dangers, many people sign up each year to become crocodile trainers. Crocodiles slam their jaws shut with 3,700 pound-force per square inch.





Calling Mumbai to join cycle-to-work movement



Cycling enthusiasts Firoza Suresh and Piyush Shah have planned a cycle-to-work event on June 6 to celebrate the World Environment Day
Actor Salman Khan, who could often be seen cycling to studios, is not the only advocate of riding a bicycle to work in the city. Two cycling enthusiasts – Firoza Suresh from Juhu and Piyush Shah from Andheri – have planned a cycle-to-work day on June 6 to celebrate the World Environment Day, and have received support from the transport think tanks and the corporate houses.

The cycle-to-work days are fairly common across the world, with the US even announcing a $20 per month tax-free reimbursement for cycle-related expenses (see box). Firoza, who works for a private firm, and Shah, a corporate, have called their project titled The Smart Commute, A Cycle To Work.

"The flag-off will be around 6.45 am, and people can join in from various locations such as Worli, Chembur, Goregaon, Thane to Sofitel Hotel at the Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) where there will be a small event to promote cycling," Firoza said, hoping the event will kick start a campaign to promote cycling in Mumbai and also make the city roads more safer for the cyclists. The event is aimed at inspiring people to cycle to work at least once a week.

"We are urging people from across strata to join in.

Those who don't have cycles can register as we have plans to provide them with cycles," Firoza, who cycles to her office in Nerul once a week, said. "Many in the city have expressed a desire to cycle to work. We just hope we are able to convince more and more people to join in," she said.

Firoza and Shah, who are part of a group of cycling enthusiasts, contacted a few HR executives from various corporate houses in the BKC, urging them to promote the cycle-to-work concept among their employees. "If the offices start promoting the concept, it will help reduce pollution and also decongest the city," said Shah, adding that they have put in a request to create special parking zones for bicycles, besides creating shower rooms for the employees.

A few Mumbaikars this newspaper spoke to described riding a cycle to work as a calming experience, far removed from the irritating traffic jams and inhaling vehicular smoke. Chaitanya Nayak, 55, the HR head at SBI Mutual Funds is one such professional who often cycle to work. "Earlier, I would cycle for

two-and-a-half hours from my residence in Andheri to reach the office in Cuffe Parade. Now, my office has shifted to the BKC and it just takes about an hour to ride to work. We have a shower room in office and I have inspired several of my colleagues to follow suit," Nayak, who will be participating in the June 6 event, said. Ashok Datar, chairman of the Mumbai Environment Social Network (MESN) that is supporting the concept along with transport think tanks Mumbai Transport Forum (MTF) and Embark, said that frequency of such events needed to be increased.

"A transport survey has shown that in Mumbai, 40 per cent of people commute less than six km a day for work. If some of them start cycling to work or for daily errands, the impact will be huge. If the number of cyclists grows, the government will be forced to improve the conditions," Datar said.

Bad roads are one of the major problems the cyclists are facing in the city, besides the oppressive humidity. "Weather and bad roads are a major put off for regular cyclists, who don't shy away from weekend trips but dread to go to office drenched in sweat.
Hence, we decided to make the corporate offices sensitive to the needs of employees, such as shower rooms at workplace," Firoza said. To join the event on June 6, log on to the Facebook page The Smart Commute.








Chilling video of youth going under CR local during stunt surfaces online




As yet another video of a train stunt going awry has gone viral, the Railway Protection Force (RPF) has decided to intensify drives against the menace. Till April, the RPF recorded 618 cases on the Western line and 2021 on the Central line of footboard and rooftop travellers, most being instances of commuters attempting stunts.

"We have made several attempts of creating awareness among youths, as those nabbed are mostly aged between 15 and 25 years. We have been holding lectures in schools and colleges about the dangers of performing stunts.
But as the practice has not stopped, we will form teams and start surprise checks on locals," said Rajendra Rupnawar, senior divisional security commissioner, RPF (WR).

The latest video that has gone viral on phone messaging services and the web shows a footboard traveller leaning out and trying different stunts even as the train starts to pick up speed. His friends shoot the video from an adjacent compartment and egg him on. Before the train leaves the station, the youth slips straight into the gap between the rake and the platform. His fate is not known yet.

"The location, where the stunt was performed in this video, is not clear. We are making all possible efforts from our side, but ultimately it is society's collective responsibility in an open rail system to prevent loss of lives. Closed-door trains could be an effective remedy . But how that would affect train operations and whether such a large volume of passengers will allow closure of doors, if introduced, is a point of debate," said Alok Bohra, senior divisional security commissioner, RPF (CR). When commuters travelling early in the morning started complaining of harassment from stunt performers on WR, the Mumbai Central GRP started a once-a-week drive a year ago. This was done on Tuesdays as most of these offenders were returnees from a Dadarbased temple. "We have nabbed nearly 500 people in a year. Summoning their parents and showing both of them videos of previous instances of stunts, where people have lost limbs or life, ensure that they do not repeat the act. We have only had one repeat offender so far," said senior inspector Rajendra Trivedi, Mumbai Central GRP .

The RPF will attempt to verify who shot the stunt video as well as identify the location where it has been shot. "Men seeking such thrills need counselling. Stunt performers need to seriously think of personal safety before taking the plunge," said an official. Doctors said there are chances of acute vertigo, rise in heart rate and blood pressure imbalance, besides the risk of head injury and multiple fractures among stunt performers. On being caught performing stunts or travelling on the rooftop of a train, a commuter can be booked under section 154 of the Railway Act. The offence is punishable with imprisonment for a term that may extend up to one year in prison, or with a fine, or both.






Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Commuter dies as golden hour lost due to aid delay Co-Passengers Took Woman From Andheri To Distant Palghar

Mumbai: Unable to grasp the seriousness of the injuries sustained by Sudaivi Meher when she slipped into the gap between train and platform at Andheri station on Monday evening, her fellow commuters pulled her on to the train and decided to head for familiar Palghar just over an hour away for treatment. 

    Unfortunately, her condition worsened and she succumbed to her injuries around midnight. 
    "Meher had lost around three to four litres of blood by the time she reached the hospital. It was difficult to control her blood flow and her condition worsened. She should have been moved to a hospital in Andheri," said Dr Prakash Gudsoorkar of the Palghar hospital where she was taken to. 
    Meher, 35, who worked at an imitation jewellery factory in Goregaon, took the Surat-bound Flying Ranee Express from Andheri daily. Around 6.20pm on Monday, as the Flying Ranee was moving into platform 4, Meher tried to board the crowded women's compartment. She slipped and fell into the gap, but the train had halted by then. 
    Her cousin Mrunali Choudhary and co-commuters pulled her out as there was no GRP or RPF personnel around to help. Choudhary has said in a statement that Meher's injuries to her waist and legs did not seem too serious, so they decided to carry her home to Satpati in Palghar by the same train. 
    Soon Meher, who was conscious through the journey, started bleeding. As Borivli station passed, her condition worsened. The passengers dialled the Palghar GRP, who kept an ambulance ready. Meher was rushed to Philia Hospital from Palghar station, said senior inspector Shivaji Shinde, Andheri GRP. Acase of accidental death has been registered. 
    Dr Gudsoorkar said the crucial golden hour (after any accident) had been wasted and Meher arrived in hospital 
in a non-survival condition with multiple fractures on the pelvis and spine. Around midnight, she was being moved to another hospital when she suffered a cardiac arrest and died. 
    "Meher's family has not 
made allegations of callousness against railway officials or cops in their statement to us," said GRP's Shinde. Western Railway officials claimed the incident was not reported to either the station master or guard of the train. 
HOSPS ABOUND IN ANDHERI 

WHAT SHOULD'VE BEEN DONE 
    
Somebody should have alerted the station master/railway police/ train guard 
    Meher should have been rushed to nearest hospital. Andheri has several with good facilities (see map below) WAS ANYBODY ALERTED? 
    
Victim's cousin travelling with her said they could not find a policeman on the platform 
    WR spokesperson said neither was the station master alerted, nor was guard aware of the incident 

WHAT HAPPENED 
    
Sudaivi Meher, 35, tries to board the crowded ladies compartment (Churchgate end) as the Surat-bound Flying Ranee arrives at platform 4 of Andheri station around 6.20pm on Monday 
    She loses balance, slips into the gap between train and platform, sustains injuries to wait and legs 
    Fellow passengers pull her out, but the train is about to leave 
    People she commutes with daily fail to fathom the seriousness of her injuries. Pull her on to train, continue to Palghar 
    As the train crosses Borivli, Meher's condition worsens 
    Commuters alert Palghar station for ambulance 
RAILWAY PROTOCOL FOR EMERGENCIES 
Station master has to be informed about accidents or commuters taking ill by the victim or his kin, co-passenger, motorman, police, passer-by 
    Station master has access to stretchers, first-aid box, wheelchair, etc. Only after an accident memo is issued does GRP take the victim to hospital. A station master rarely goes to the accident spot himself 
    Accident victims ideally 
should be shifted to nearest private/govt hospital within the 'golden hour' 
    As directed by the Bombay HC (in 2006) railways should pay private hospital bills too 

    In cases of trespassing, station masters alerted by motorman's honking
FACILITIES AVAILABLE AT STATIONS 
First aid, stretchers, wheelchairs at every station 
WR has deployed ambulances at 8 stations | Churchgate, Mumbai Central, Grant Road, Lower Parel, Dadar, Bandra, Andheri & Borivli 
HELPLINE NOS 
Central Railway | 1275 Western Railway | 1311 GRP | 9833331111




Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Fire brigade may slap notice on SoBo high-rise


The Mumbai fire brigade is contemplating sending a notice to a high-rise on Ridge Road at Walkeshwar for not carrying out maintenance of fire equipment installed in the residential building. The move comes following a fire on the eighth floor of the 16-storey Purab Apartments which broke out around 11pm on Monday. The building houses 50 flats. 
According to fire officials, equipment such as riser and drums were present in the building, but they were not functional since they haven't been maintained for a long time. The building is more than 35 years old. 
"High-rises should compulsorily go for an annual maintenance of the installed fire equipment. The societies should go for an annual maintenance contract with government-licensed agencies, spending a certain amount, so that the equipment are operational in case of an emergency," a fire official said. 
The official added that the onus of taking initiative to carry out the maintenance of equipment regularly lies on the society. "Most societies are reluctant to carry out the maintenance of such equipment regularly, rendering them useless during emergency," he said. 
Following the notice, the society will have to send a report to the fire brigade within a stipulated period of time, the maximum of which is 120 days. 
Deputy chief fire officer P Rahangdale said, "We will study the investigation report and take action accordingly." 
While there were no injuries or casualties reported, a 1,500 sq feet flat on that floor was gutted in the fire. At least 15 fire tenders were pressed into service and the fire was doused within an hour. 
Residents promptly vacated the building, immediately after they were informed of the fire. "Since it's a vacation season, most of the residents were out of station," informed a resident of the building. 
Neither the secretary of the society or the owner of the flat that was damaged was available for comments.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

She died on her way home to discuss wedding TCS Staffer Killed In Train Blast

Chennai/Guntur:Last year, Swathi Paruchuri landed her dream job as assistant systems engineer in TCS, Bangalore. In a couple of months, the 24-year-old from Guntur in Andhra Pradesh was getting married to a close friend. On Thursday morning, she died in the twin bomb blasts that rocked the Bangalore-Guwahati Express in Chennai central station. 

    Swathi wasn't even meant to be on the train—or in the berth. She procured a tatkal ticket at the last minute and then swapped her berth with another passenger so that she could sleep on a berth next to her friend and coleague Rajitha, who was also on the train. Swathi died, Rajitha survived. 
    Swathi's mother Kamakshi Devi fell unconscious after hearing the tragic news at their Guntur home. Sources said Swathi had initially tried to book a ticket in Prasanthi Express, which is a direct train from Bangalore to Guntur, and was looking forward to meeting her parents after four months. 
    But in a last-minute change of plan, she took Guwahati Express though it does not go to Guntur. She had planned to get down in Vijayawada and take a bus to her hometown. 
    According to her friends, Swathi was planning to sett
le down and was heading home to discuss her marriage. "She was really excited about this trip," said a friend from Sai PG Centre in east Bangalore where she lived. 
Bombs meant to go off near Modi rally? 
amil Nadu police suspect the involvement of selfstyled jihadi and Al Umma operative Abubaker Siddiqui and his associates 'Police' Fakruddin, Panna Ismail and Bilal Malik, all under arrest for attempts to target BJP leaders. "We suspect that the bombs were meant to go off in Andhra since the train was headed from Chennai to Nellore, Guntur, and Vizag. Narendra Modi was to address rallies in Nellore," a cop said. A timer device and a pipe bomb were found. P 12 Swathi was full of life, saw beauty in every frame of life: Uncle 
Chennai/Guntur: Swathi Paruchuri, who was killed in the Chennai train blast on Thursday, was traveling in the S-5 coach which bore the brunt of the explosion. 

    Her mother Kamakshi Devi is a lecturer in Guntur's Government Women's Polytechnic College and her father Ramakrishna a farmer. Swathi's younger brother Pradyumna is pursuing aeronautical engineering in IIT
Mumbai.Swathi's uncle remembered his niece as "a very friendly person who was always full of life". "She had a keen interest in photography. At any moment, Swathi would take out the camera and start clicking pictures. She would often say there is beauty in every frame of life," he said. 
    'Hold on, pain ends' was Swathi Paruchuri's post on Facebook, describing 'hope'. But sometimes even hope lets you down.

Swathi, 24, only got on the train after buying a Tatkal ticket

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