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Saturday, June 25, 2011

200 LPG cylinders explode after Varanasi rescue op goes wrong

Varanasi: Loud explosions ripped the air in Mehdiganj in Varanasi when over 200 LPG cylinders exploded one by one between 3.30 am and 5 am on Saturday. 

    Natives of Rakhanua village were evacuated as a precaution. Eyewitness said the cylinders could be seen going up in the air upto 500 metres. SP (Rural) Harish Kumar said the movement of vehicles on GT road was thin and so a major tragedy was averted. According to eyewitnesses and police, a truck carrying computer printer ink stopped along the highway tocheck tyres when a truck loaded with LPG cylinders also arrived there. The driver of cylinder-laden truck lost control and hit the inkladen truck from the rear side. Though Vimal survived, the truck's cleaner, Karan Pasi (18) was trapped between the iron grills of the two trucks. 
    The police tried to rescue Kamal by cutting the iron grills but, in this bid, the ink caught fire. About 200 cylinders exploded while 100 cylinders loaded on the truck were damaged badly. The fire fighters swung into action again after the cylinders stopped exploding.

The fire erupted after cops used a cutter to rescue a truck cleaner

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The monsoon continues its march across India

The monsoon continues its march across India, bringing smiles to farmers and frowns to some, like transporters. On Sunday, (from left) five stranded oil tankers were swept away by a raging Subarnarekha near Ranchi in Jharkhand, while trucks carrying sand drifted into the flooded Krishna right across the country in Maharashtra's Sangli

Monday, June 13, 2011

BMC works out ‘foolproof’ disaster control system

Mumbai: In a bid to reduce response time and improve co-ordination between the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and various agencies in the eventuality of a flood, civic chief Subodh Kumar has worked out a "foolproof" system this monsoon. 

    The civic body has identified 14 emergency support functions and Kumar has issued orders that representatives of each function should be present at the disaster control cell at the BMC headquarters, during preidentified high tide days for effective co-ordination. 
    The functions identified include communication, public safety and law & order, firefighting, search and rescue, transport, public health and sanitation, resource management, information management, mass care and housing, relief supply, energy (power failure, fuel), utility, public works and infrastructure, and oil and hazardous material. 
    "For the first time, the disaster control cell will have representatives from various agencies. Earlier, we would call each agency and the response time was longer. We aim to bring down the time during a disaster during the monsoon," said Mahesh Narvekar, chief officer, disaster control cell. 

    The functions for resource management have their own research inventory. "So, if there is water-logging in Malad, the resource inventory at the disaster control cell will know which resource inventory to contact to provide kayaks, boats or lifejackets," said Narvekar. 
    For relief supply, a representative from the collector's office will be present to co-ordinate and supply relief material on time. 
    For monsoon-related ailments, representatives of the BMC's executive health officer will co-ordinate with private and government hospitals. 
    "For transport, if a train derails and we need extra buses or cabs, the transport commissioner's representative will sit here and make arrangements," said Narvekar. 
    There is also a hotline connected to the main station of the control room, which is connected to all agencies and 24 administrative wards. 
    "Whenever a citizen calls on 108 during floods, the ward office is informed within two minutes. Each ward is connected with a hotline and immediately informs the ward control room. The ward office has to take cognizance of the complaint," said Narvekar. 
    The next high tide, expected to be 4.60 m high, is likely on June 15.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Monsoon spells bad news for the homeless

Navi Mumbai: With monsoon setting in, social workers and NGOs are worried that 30% more homeless will succumb to the fury of rains in the city and its suburbs. 

    Panvel-based NGO Social & Evangelical Association for Love (SEAL), which runs a shelter for the homeless in Navi Mumbai, has once again appealed to the state government and corporates 
to at least provide temporary homes for those who don't have a roof over their heads. 
    "Over the last 12 years, we have noticed that more homeless—especially the mentally challenged—die during the rainy seasons. We try to provide shelter to as many as possible during the monsoon, 
but many still die of diseases,'' founder of SEAL ashram, Pastor K M Philip said. 
    "It is unfortunate that the state does little for the homeless. Even if the government sets up a helpline for concerned citizens to leave information about homeless in their areas, some lives can be saved,'' he said. 
    RTI activist of Mumbaibased Athak Seva Sangh, Anil Galgali, agreed that the state does almost nothing to better the situation of the handicapped homeless. 
    "Of the 90,000 deaths registered annually in the Mumbai region, nearly 2,500 
are those of unknown persons . Most of these are homeless," said Galgali. 
    Pastor Philip added, "We never turn away a homeless person brought to our shelter home, and as a policy we don't demand money either. In this regard, the government can play a critical role in helping the needy persons by actively meeting all such NGOs and discussing the problems we face while doing this work.'' 
    Just a few days ago, Pastor Philip recalled, a helpless person called 'Kalika', was beaten up so severely by some men at the Kalamboli steel market that he has been lying in a state of semi-consciousness at the SEAL ashram for two weeks now. 
    "Why are people and the state so indifferent to the homeless? Even they have a right to live; they too need to 
be cared for by society,'' said Philip. 
    SEAL is also trying to reunite a 23-year-old rescued youth, Bhagyaraj, with his family in Tamil Nadu. Bhagyaraj was found at Panvel railway station in a bad shape. But he is now doing well at the SEAL ashram.

ABODE OF LOVE: (Above) Ankit Parmar from Gujarat was rescued by Panvel-based SEAL from Kanjurmarg station. (Below) Bhagyaraj before and after he was given shelter by the NGO

Sion to CST in 25 minutes?


Mumbai: Almost two years in the making, the city's longest flyover between Bharatmata and Lalbaug will be opened to the public on Monday. 
    The 2.45-km flyover will help motorists reach Sion from CST in 25 minutes. This is the fourth flyover on Ambedkar Road. The MMRDA has already built three other flyovers on the stretch 

at Maheshwari Udyan-Tulpule chowk, Hindamata Junction and opposite Sion Hospital. 
    "The four-lane flyover built at a cost of Rs 150 crore will help motorists avoid nine traffic signals. The four flyovers on the Ambedkar Road will collectively help drivers skip 18 signals," MMRDA commissioner Rahul Asthana said. 
    "The flyover came up within two years of the old one being demolished,'' an MMRDA officer said. TNN

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