Unified Traffic and Transportation Centre

     THE UNIFIED Traffic and Transportation Centre set up by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has finally become operational.

     The centre – set up following the direction of Delhi lieutenant governor Tejendra Khanna – will coordinate with different civic agencies who are in the process of planning or implementing over a dozen transport projects in light of the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

      “The centre will help in better coordination between different agencies so that various projects are implemented fast and in a time bound manner. At present there are so many different agencies like MCD, PWD, NDMC, DMRC and NDMC involved in various transport projects that coordination has become a problem. This centre will be the unified apex coordination body,” said a DDA official.

     The DDA Board approved the setting up of the Centre in December 2007. “The centre will not only be responsible for preparing inventory of corridor wise traffic and transportation issues, traffic management strategies and enforcement guidelines but will also develop protocols and norms for signages, street furniture, lighting, signals, hoardings, roadside landscape, zebra crossings, pedestrian passages, commuter facilities,” said a senior DDA official.

      The agencies with whom the traffic centre will coordinate includes MCD, PWD, NDMC, NHAI, Traffic Police, DTC, DMRC, Delhi Integrated Multi-modal Transport Services, Ministry of Surface Transport, Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Civil Aviation, airport Authority of India, Central road Research Institute, Centre for Science and environment and School of Planning and Architecture (SPA).

      The centre is headed by Delhi L-G and will have DDA vice chairman and senior officials from the agencies concerned as its member

Court wants ambulance service free of cost

     IN A significant patient-friendly order, the Delhi High Court on Tuesday directed the centre and the Delhi Government to take steps to make ambulance service free of cost.

      The HC also took serious exception to the misuse of ambulances in government hospitals and dispensaries and delay in carrying out post-mortem examination by hospitals. Justice VB. Gupta gave orders while dismissing an appeal filed by a bus owner convicted of rash and negligent driving and ramming a Maruti can A woman was killed, while three of her family members were injured in the accident.

     Justice Gupta said: “In the hour of grief, little solace can be provided to the family of the deceased by the authorities concerned by ensuring that at least post mortem is conducted as early as possible and the ambulance service is provided to the victim or injured free of cost. It is hoped that the respective government would take necessary steps in this regard.” Varun Goswami, the lawyer who had filed a PIL in the court complaining about the misuse of ambulances, welcomed the court’s direction.

      “Considering the number of accidents occurring in Delhi, ambulance operators should not be allowed to exploit the poor and needy victims. I have been making repeated requests to the court, which only left it to the government and market forces. In that context today’s observations are landmark.”

     ‘Do not delay post-mortem’ Justice Gupta noted that the plight of family members is worse in case a person dies in a road accident.

     “The culprit is bailed out then and there and he happily goes back to his family, whereas the family members of the deceased undergo trauma and torture at the hands of police and hospital authorities and they run from pillar to post to get the postmortem done. It takes hours and sometimes days to conduct postmortem of a victim. This situation should change,” said the court. harish.nair@hindustantimes.com

NRI: Indian Students Feeling Insecure in US

     NARESH RAMMOHAN, a “firstgeneration ABCD” and a student of New York’s Syracuse University, is disturbed after the murders of three Indian students in the US in the last five weeks.

     “I feel very insecure with the recent tragedies and I know my parents worry more than I do,” he said. “The Louisiana slayings in December opened my eyes. I admit that even in this day and age, people of colour, in general, may be the targets for heinous crimes.”

     Then came the death of Abhijeet Mahato, the 29-year-old PhD student at Duke University Naresh’s sense of shock reson- ates with a large number of Indian students across US campuses.

     “The Indian community at MIT is shocked to hear about the recent crimes against graduate students of Indian origin,” Aditya Undurti, president of Sangam, an Indian students’ association at MIT, said.

      At Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, the recent killings have brought back memories of last year’s bloody carnage that claimed 32 lives – two of Indians. “Abhijeet Mahato’s killing has shocked everyone in the US, especially the Indian community because we are a peace-loving community,” says Rohit Rangnekar 

      ROBBERY IS being seen as the motive behind the murder of Abhijeet Mahato, the 29-yearold Indian PhD student at Duke University. Mahato was found dead by friends on Friday when his cellphone did not respond to calls. He had been shot.

      The theft theory was buttressed by two incidents of robbery in the Duke University area on Sunday night. In both cases – one reported by a university student and the other by an employee – an African-American man, 5 feet 8 inches tall, brandished a gim and robbed them. Both incidents took place off the campus. Abhijeet’s apartment, where he was found dead, was also outside the Duke premises.

     His family has authorised a friend, a professor in Michigan University, to fly to Durham, North Carolina, to help arrange for the body to be flown to India. Two Indian embassy officials, Sanjay Sinha and Alok Pandey, went on Monday to Durham for the same purpose. Larry Moneta, the vice-president for student affairs at Duke, has been quoted as saying that “it seems to be a case of robbery”. He said there was no evidence this was a race crime.

     “Mahato had no enemies,” he said. Moneta also said there had never been any racial incidents involving Indians in Duke.

      There are about 200 Indian students and 20 faculty members of Indian origin in the university The murder of two Indian doctoral students at Lousiana State University in December is being seen as a hate crime

      “What else can I say about myself, except that I am the son of my parents, brother of my sister and brother-in-law of her husband?! And I have a cute and naughty nephew. Even that would be equally lame introduction. This webpage has not reached its final stage. I am trying to improve it as and when I got the time and idea. I have not yet found a proper subject for the page… This is how Abhiject Mahto described himself on his webpage.