Mumbai Traffic:Western Highway records 80 mishaps in a fortnight

Western Highway records 80 mishaps in a fortnight

Clara Lewis I TNN

Mumbai: If speeding on the Eastern Express Highway seemed dangerous, mere driving has proved fatal on the Western Express Highway.

Eighty accidents have been reported, two of them fatal, on the 2.5-km stretch between the Kala Nagar junction in Bandra and the Milan subway junction in Santa Cruz over the past fortnight. Ever since the onset of the monsoon early this month, there have been 76 mishaps between the Hans Mugra Road and the Kala Nagar junction alone—a distance of only 1.5 km.

S Nandgirikar, chief engineer, Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), which is in charge of the two expressways, however, did not agree with the statistics. “We are regularly in touch with all the police stations as well as the traffic police and none of them has reported such a high rise in accidents,’’ he said.

However, according to P N Mestri, senior police inspector, Kherwadi police station, under whose jurisdiction this stretch falls, all the mishaps had occurred owing to skidding on wet roads. “The petrol and diesel on the roads, added by the rain, proved to be a deadly cocktail leading to these accidents. One of them proved to be fatal when a car skid and hit a person near a bus stop on the highway on June 15,’’ Mestri said. “Most of these vehicles were going at a low speed.’’

Local Shiv Sena corporator Prakash Sawant, who has complained to MMRDA commissioner Ratnakar Gaikwad about the high incidence of accidents, said the figure now stood at 145.
However, the Vakola police, which man the expressway between Hans Mugra Road and Milan Subway, have a much lower toll. “There have been only three accidents since the beginning of June, and of them, only one was fatal.

This was on Thursday when a pillion rider on a motorcycle fell off the motorcycle and died,’’ said an officer. He agreed that the Vakola flyover and areas near the Hans Mugra Road were the most treacherous and most accidents occurred there. Since the beginning of this year, the Vakola police have recorded 34 accidents, six of them fatal, on that stretch, the officer added.
Nandgirikar said a substantial portion of the highway between Bandra and Vakola had been done with mastic asphalt, the same material that caused accidents on its eastern counterpart. “But it was laid much better on this expressway.

Besides, the possibility of speeding on this expressway compared to the eastern one is much lower. We will have to look into the reasons for the accidents,’’ he said.

Eastern corridor still slippery Roana Maria Costa I TNN

Mumbai: The MMRDA and the traffic cell’s steps to prevent skidding and accidents on the Eastern Express Highway has hardly proved to be successful as all their effort has been concentrated only on a one-and-a-half-km stretch between the Godrej north and south gates.

Nineteen minor accidents have been reported between Airoli and Ghatkopkar bridges owing to skidding. “From last Friday to this Friday evening, 19 minor accidents have been reported due to skidding,’’ said I S Udakeri, sub-inspector at the Vikroli police station.

On June 11, the traffic police installed two laser speed guns along the highway and since the next day, 444 cases of over-speeding have been registered. “A total of 444 cases of over-speeding have been registered and licences of all these drivers have been seized, while and they have been issued showcause notices by RTOs,’’ said Harish Baijal, DCP traffic.

The authorities have also placed barricades along the road, installed low-level speed retarders and chipping of the road is in progress. However, none of these is being done on the expressway other than the one-and-a-halfkm stretch.
“Most of the measures have been taken on that stretch as it is the most accident-prone zone and also has two road signals,’’ said SR Nandargikar, chief engineer, MMRDA.

Today workers were seen putting hot bitumen along the stretch to glue the chips to the road. “The chips are being laid to make the surface rough and the work will be complete in two to three days,’’ said Nandargikar.

How missiles get their names

How missiles get their names

Deepa Bhasthi | TNN

Bangalore: How do you name a missile? Or a tank? Or an aircraft for that matter? If you thought Agni, Prithvi and Akash were random names scientists just came up with, you couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Developing missile technology is hard work, and for scientists, their baby. Research keeps them up long hours, away from family and friends and it is but natural that great deliberation takes place before christening these babies.
Sanskrit names are always given preference.

Scientists believe such names are powerful. All names are, in one way or the other, connected to the function of the missile, aircraft or tank. Take for instance Agni, the intermediate range ballistic missile. The fire or the energy needed for propulsion is what gave the missile its name.

Explaining the naming procedure, W Selvamurthy, chief controller of life sciences and human resources at Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) said missiles and other products developed by the labs are given names that have a ‘‘functional meaning and/or a scientific rationale’’.

The director of each project, along with the team, proposes a few names that they think would be appropriate. The proposals go to the chief controller of the lab which is working on the project and the final name is decided keeping in mind the functions of the final product.

PRITHVI | Surface to surface missile from the earth
AKASH | Surface to air missile that touches the skies
LAKSHYA | Pilotless target aircraft, all about taking aim
NAG | Anti-tank missile, hits from top like a hooded serpent
TEJAS | Indigenous light combat aircraft that will provide an ‘aura’ for India

Consumers Court:Directs Hospitals (Records)and Insuarance Co (FIRs)

Hospitals must give records within 72 hrs

Prafulla Marpakwar | TNN

Mumbai: In a landmark order, the national consumer disputes redressal commission has made it mandatory for all medical practitioners and hospitals across the country to provide the entire medical records of a patient to him\her or the authorised nominee or legal authorities concerned within 72 hours of the demand.

Simultaneously, the commission asked the Medical Council of India to promulgate a comprehensive notification. Accordingly, a week ago, the MCI directed medical practitioners and hospitals to provide the medical records of a patient within three days of the request.

‘‘In any set of circumstances, hospitals\medical practitioners shall hand over the medical records of the patient to him or his relatives within 72 hours,’’ the MCI said in its circular.

The commission’s directives, followed by the MCI circular, assume significance since the general tendency among medical practitioners and hospitals has been either to avoid a request for medical records or delay it for obvious reasons. However, Hinduja Hospital director G B Davar welcomed the move, saying it was in the interest of patients.

A former dean of J J Hospital, Davar said parting with medical records would improve the relationship between the doctor and the hospital. ‘‘If all records are made available to a patient immediately, there will be no scope for doubt of any kind,’’ he said.

An order by the national consumer disputes redressal commission says all docs, hospitals must provide patient’s medical records within 72 hours of the demand being made
Medical Council of India has directed all hospitals to implement panel’s order “in any set of circumstances”


‘FIR not must to claim theft relief’


New Delhi: Insurance companies cannot reject a theft claim for want of an FIR copy observed the state consumer commission in a recent order. The commission has fined United India Insurance Company Rs 25,000 and Rs 5,000 as cost of litigation, for not deciding the claim of the insured for two years because a copy of the FIR was not furnished, and thereby forcing the consumer to take legal remedy.

Presiding over the commission, Justice J D Kapoor said: ‘‘It is a misconceived notion that the insurance policy covering the risk of theft of household articles or other goods is not indemnifiable unless the person produces a copy of the FIR.’’

According to Justice Kapoor, when a person approaches the police to report a theft, it is the police that decide whether to convert the complaint into an FIR or a daily diary. There is no difference between an FIR and a simple complaint lodged by the person, he added.

In the theft claim case, the complainant Subhash Chander Khanna, had gone to a cinema hall in Jaipur in 2006 where his wallet was stolen. He lodged a report with Jaipur police and filed for a claim with the insurance company. When the insurance company asked for a copy of the FIR, he approached Jaipur police, which issued him only a stamped copy of the daily diary report.

The insurance company did not adjudicate the claim by insisting on a copy of the FIR. When his claim was not settled, Khanna sent a letter to the insurance company saying that if it was not satisfied about the occurrence of theft, it may send investigators or may write to police about the facts.

Justice Kapoor said, ‘‘Since there was no material with the insurance company falsifying the occurrence of theft, it was liable pay compensation for mental agony, harassment and cost of proceedings.

NRI: NZ Sikh Society Protests Police Handling of Navtej Singh Case

Protest over shooting response

June 19, 2008

The New Zealand Sikh Society and the family of slain liquor store co-owner Navtej Singh are to make a formal complaint about the police handling of the case.

The complaint will focus on the police decision to hold back an ambulance from reaching the Manurewa store in south Auckland despite several calls from family and friends saying the gunmen had left the scene.

Mr Singh, 30, died in Middlemore Hospital 24 hours after being shot while apparently offering no resistance to three armed robbers at the Riverton Liquor Store in the Randwick Park area of Manurewa on June 7.

The first 111 call following the beginning of the robbery was received about 9.05pm but police did not enter the store until 9.31pm and paramedics entered at 9.38pm – 20 minutes after they arrived at a “safe point” near the scene.

Police later said they had to establish where the gunmen were before they entered the scene so nobody else’s life was at risk.

At a meeting of about 15 community leaders last night it was decided to lodge a formal complaint with the Independent Police Conduct Authority. New Zealand Sikh Society spokesman Daljit Singh said the complaint was not being made for financial gain but to ensure no one else was put in the same situation.

“Every person should have that right that if he, or she, needs medical help it should arrive immediately.

“The family was sitting in the meeting … actually it was their decision [to make the complaint] and the New Zealand Sikh Society took the matter from them and said okay, we are ready to support you if you want to do that.”

Mr Singh said a rally against crime would also be held on Saturday afternoon in Manukau.

Sandeep Verma, spokesman for the victim’s family, said the Sikh Society was helping the family to get justice.

“There are still some unanswered questions from the police and the other authorities about why Navtej Singh didn’t get the treatment when he was shot.

“He might have survived … if he had got the treatment [earlier].”

Mr Verma said the family didn’t know what the outcome of the complaint would be, but hoped it would bring about change that was “helpful to the community”.

* Two men were charged with Mr Singh’s murder, aggravated robbery and armed robbery charges last week. Two other men have been charged with armed robbery.


Gujjars: Methods adopted Right or Wrong?

Gujjars have a grievance.

Their share of the reservation pie is negligible.

Meenas were just as poor and deprived as they were once. Meenas got themselves listed as STs, Gujjars for some reasons didn’t.

There were other reasons too. They could have used the interim period to improve their educational standards, taken up vacancies entitled to them in schools colleges and technical institutions. They missed the opportunities for getting on the bandwagon for government jobs.

Now things have changed.Today they see Meenas lording over them every day in the villages, Police stations, Government daftars, and every where else.

Gujjars have lost out in the race for the pie. They realise the loss.

Going up the ladder of education would take decades. Worse, Vajapayee in a deft move included jats in the list along with them. They are aware they have no chance of performing bettter than the jats, who are much better off educationally, financially, socially.

The shortest, fastest, quickest way forward was to get themselves included in the list of STs.

Today the systems in place, political, judicial, or administrative do not allow for logical working out of problems and arriving at solutions. Governments of the day and political parties are highly cynical and manipulative.

Today ability to demonstrate raw power and ability to pressurise  alone yields any results. Gujjars had realised this. The methods adopted were a direct result of this realisation.

Results are there for all to see.

The Government of Rajasthan in a clever political play has taken steps, that go against Supreme Court directives and the constitution.

Gujjars have withdrawn their agitation. Temporarily.

What next?

Extracts from Mail Today.

Reservation politics may not pass the legal hurdle

By Gyanant Singh in New Delhi

THE Vasundhara Raje government has probably given more than it can to the Gujjars. The state government has breached the 50 per cent cap on reservations put up by the Supreme Court in the famous Indra Sawhney case in 1992. The constitutional validity of the state government’s proposed decision to increase the percentage of reservation from 49 per cent to 68 per cent, to appease the Gujjars and the poor among the forward castes is, likely to be challenged before the courts.

The Supreme Court is already examining the legal validity of 69 per cent reservation in Tamil Nadu and the matter is likely to come up hearing after the summer vacations. Though the Rajasthan government has managed to pacify the Gujjars, it would find it hard to defend its decision which was directly in conflict with the Supreme Court judgment restricting reservation to 50 per cent. The background in which the state government took the decision would also work against it in any court of law.

Except Tamil Nadu, no other state has exceeded the reservation limit
But for Tamil Nadu, there is hardly any state government which has exceeded the limit reservation set by the Supreme Court. Though the apex court is looking into the validity of the law enacted by the state having ahistory reservation since 1921, in view of special circumstances, it has allowed the state government continue with it with certain conditions.

Though the court had set alimit on reservation, this had not barred state governments from introducing separate quota for certain groups needing special protection by carving out quota within aquota. Faced with asimilar situation, the Maharashtra assembly had enacted alaw in 2001 accommodate groups such as Denotified Tribes and Nomadic Tribes under special categories under the OBC quota.

Recommending asimilar formula, the Centre had earlier advised the Raje government enact alaw like Maharashtra but the state government under pressure from various groups did not agree. The state government managed to convince Gujjars to give up their claim for Scheduled Tribe status through aseparate quota. But the challenge is probably far from over. It may now legal hurdle

The Services: Their Unheard Lament

The three services have been downgraded and today are a shadow of what they were.

Is the morale high?

Are the troops properly equipped?

Are the services prepared for the next war,on land, sea, air or space?

Is there a problem of family accommodation?

Why are youngsters not coming forward to serve in the army?

How many politicians and babus have their sons in the services? And why not?

Why will the problems of the services never be addressed?

True answers to the above questions will only mean harassment , and charges of sedition.

The Services need to understand the systems in place.

Writing pious articles and photo ops of dharnas at India Gate cannot get them anywhere.


Extracts from an article

*Our Knee jerk Reactions*
*Get bureaucracy out of the way *
*Lt-Gen ( Retd ) Harwant Singh*

*India invariably reacts only when matters come to a head and ends up with knee jerk responses. There is no foresight or forward planning and the nation is constantly being overtaken by events.* Whether it is terrorist
attacks, followed by cry for draconian laws and a Federal Police Agency, congestion on roads to be resolved by Bus Rapid Transport, similar ad-hoc solutions for pollution in our cities, the vanishing tigers, or the long pending demands of Gujjars etc. The list is endless.

When Chinese make forays into our territory we order the raising of two mountain divisions and move one from J and K to Sikkim. While the Chinese have already built an extensive road communication system and military infrastructure in Tibet, we suddenly wake up and order border road construction at a frantic pace. Once these roads come up we will realize that there is hardly any military infrastructure along these roads and as such would merely be convenient routes for ingress. We will then rush to build infrastructure and create military capabilities along these. But all this would invariably come about only as, too little too late!

Military capabilities take a long time to build whereas policies and the geo-strategic scene can under go a change faster, threats to national security and clash of interests can manifest all too suddenly. No one could foresee the coming of 1962, 1965, 1971 or even Kargil. All those who seek comfort under the illusion that there is no near threat, to national security or economic interests of the country and that 1.8 % of GDP allocation for defence will suffice for the time being and that first we must become a n economic super power and then think of security, are living through India of the fifties. It is already near impossible to catch up with some of the competing powers in the region.

Therefore it is no surprise that when matters have come to a boil in the armed forces, due to their periodic down gradation in every conceivable manner, and there are few takers for the profession and near exodus from the services, the political executive is digging out decades old cases, on which it had sat through, all this while and is trying to push these through, post haste, i.e. AV Singh-Bagga Committee Report Part-2. Housing projects andmore senior posts for medical corps officers are being sanctioned, but still missing out on the core issues of pay and status of armed forces, which is the cases belli for the profession becoming so unpopular and the current turmoil.

*The bureaucracy has no accountability or stake in national security and Pay Commissions are not answerable for the fallout of their perverse dispensation to the defence services. Their prejudice, malevolence and malafide is too apparent and well known to need reiteration. *

Instead of getting to the heart of the problem, the RM is flying off at a tangent. He wants to introduce a hopelessly unattractive proposal of introducing short service commission of 14 years, ending with a gratuity of 28 lakhs,( 2 lakhs for every year of service ) and pack off the officer to the mean street, at a time when his family commitments will be maximum.

When there are not enough takers for the regular commission how does he hope to draw suitable material for this patently unattractive career package.

No, that is not enough. He wants to know why such bright and possibly ambitious officers do not want to attend the higher Command Course. Is it some mystery that he wants the Army Headquarters to unravel for him, when expectedly he should know in some detail the damage the 6CPC has done to the morale of the armed forces.

*Earlier he had, through the press, ‘ticked off,’ the Army and the Naval Chiefs for no valid reasons and in bad form. Now he tells the army commanders that officers should not ‘ill treat troops.’ which is resulting in suicide cases. The relationship between officers and troops is friendly and congenial and his remark will undermine that trust. Regrettably no army commander in that conference put him wise on the issue.*

Causes of suicides lie in the stress factor, inherent in counter insurgency operations and other travails on military life in the Indian army. Break-up of joint family system and lack of separated family accommodation has resulted in families being left alone in civil localities with poor facilities and insecure environments which constantly play on the minds of troops. Specter of early retirement with inadequate pension and no second career is equally disturbing. The cumulative effect destabilizes the mind. The suicide rate is lowest compared to other armies committed on much less strenuous tasks.

*So it will not wash by skirting the main issue of making career in the military, both for other ranks and officers attractive enough to draw on the right material and keep it contended. The solution lies in redrawing the contours of the pay packet and status of the military and getting the bureaucracy out of the way. There has to be some equity in life time earnings between those in and others outside the uniform: in the same groupings. *

*Let not events overtake us even in this case too. *

NRI: Indian store owner shot dead in NZ

Indian store owner shot dead in NZ

Melbourne: A 30-year-old Indian was shot by three robbers in his liquor store in the New Zealand capital, sending shockwaves in the immigrant community which has accused the police of a delayed response to the incident.

Navtej Singh, a father of three girls, the eldest being five, died on Monday morning after battling for his life for 36 hours. Navtej immigrated from Punjab to New Zealand six years ago with his family and set up a liquor store in south Auckland three months ago.

“A total of 15 bottles of beer and maybe some change, a couple of dollars. That’s the price that has been put on this 30-year-old man today, and I feel that this is a national shame,” Veer Khar of the Indian central association said. Detective inspector Jim Gallagher said video footage reveals three offenders who entered store were male Pacific Islanders or indigenous Maori. PTI