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Foot over-bridge collapses in Mumbai CST, death toll reaches 6

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Mumbai | Six persons were killed and 31 injured after a section of a foot overbridge near a busy train station in south Mumbai collapsed during evening rush hour on Thursday, officials said.

The bridge, which connected the area near the Times of India building with the iconic Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus railway station, was commonly called ‘Kasab bridge’ as the 26/11 Mumbai attack terrorist passed through it during the strike.

The injured have been admitted to nearby hospitals, a disaster management cell official said.

Just after the incident, Mumbai Police had tweeted: “Foot over-bridge connecting CST platform 1 north end with B T Lane near Times of India building has collapsed. Injured persons are being shifted to hospitals. Traffic affected. Commuters to use alternate routes. Senior officers are on spot.”

The deceased were identified as Apoorva Prabhu (35), Anjana Tambe (40), Bhakti Shinde (40), Zahid Shiraj Khan (32), Tapendra Singh (28) and Mohan, said the disaster management cell of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

Prabhu and Tambe were employees of the G T Hospital, the officials said.

A case has been registered against officials of Central Railway and the BMC in connection with the incident, police said.

“We have registered an offence under section 304A (causing death by negligence) of the IPC at the Azaad Maidan police station,” said Manjunath Singe, spokesperson of the Mumbai Police.

Civic authorities started dismantling the remaining portion of the overbridge late Thursday night.

Additional Municipal Commissioner of the BMC, Vijay Singhal, said the remaining portion of the damaged bridge is being dismantled manually. He said action will be taken against the firm that conducted the structural audit of the bridge.

Deven Bharti, Joint Commissioner (Law & Order), told PTI that police “will, for sure, launch an inquiry into the incident”.

The tragedy comes eight months after another bridge collapsed in suburban Andheri, in which five persons were killed.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to the family of the deceased and said a high-level committee will probe the circumstances under which the 40-year-old overbridge collapsed.

“The injured persons will get Rs 50,000 each and the government will bear the cost of their treatment,” Fadnavis said, adding that officials found responsible for the incident will be booked.

A 45-member team of the National Disaster Response Force was at the site.

An eyewitness said the over-bridge was being used by pedestrians even as repair works were ongoing.

Several motorists were also under the bridge when it came down, which led to an increase in the number of injured, an official said. “We have appealed the motorists to avoid the D N Road to JJ Flyover section.”

Another eyewitness said most of the victims were walking on the overbridge on their way to the CST station when it collapsed.

“Thankfully, when the bridge collapsed, it was red signal at the nearby road, otherwise several people would definitely have been crushed under the rubble,” said a taxi driver, who luckily escaped the tragedy.

Faizan Ahmad, who witnessed the incident, said it appeared as if a powerful bomb went off. “The dust and cries of the victims filled us with fear and we soon realised that a bridge has fallen.”

Manish Jha, a reporter with a Hindi daily, had a lucky escape. “It looked like I had near-death experience. The moment I walked on the bridge, I felt its floors vigorously swaying,” he said.

Amid tragic scenes, some people were seen taking selfies with the debris of the bridge in the background.

Lawmakers and local party leaders rushed to the spot as political blame-game ensued.

Arvind Sawant, the local Shiv Sena MP, said, “This bridge was under minor-repairing after the audit of all bridges in the city. Action will be initiated against the responsible officials.”

Local BJP MLA Raj Purohit also visited the spot and demanded immediate action against the engineer who had declared the bridge as ‘safe’. “He should be arrested right now. He is responsible for the entire disaster.”

Local Shiv Sena corporator Sujata Sanap said she had alerted officials about the structure, but they did not act in time. “I have been pursuing the issue of this unsafe bridge for long and also wrote so many letters to officials but they were ignored.”

The collapse will be jointly probed by BMC and Central Railways, said Vinod Tawde, District Guardian Minister of Mumbai.

“I have discussed the issue with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis as well as with CR General Manager D K Sharma, BMC chief Ajoy Mehta and joint police commissioner (L&W) Deven Bharti. The railways and the BMC will jointly inquire the accident,” Tawde told reporters.

Congress leader Milind Deora said murder charge should be slapped on auditors who inspected the bridge and the BMC officers who appointed them. “Mumbaikars feel very unsafe in the city, considering the frequent incidents of bridge collapses,” the former MP said.

“I am not politicising the issue, but hollow promises are not going to serve the people anyway. This is failure of the government and the system,” he added.

In July last year, portion of a road over-bridge had collapsed in suburban Andheri. Railway Minister Piyush Goyal had then announced a joint safety audit of all 445 bridges in Mumbai.

Following the order, the railways, the BMC and the IIT-Bombay had conducted a safety audit.

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Javed Akhtar could have called us: ‘PM Narendra Modi’ producer Sandip Ssingh on credit row

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Javed Akhtar

Apart from Javed Akhtar, another veteran lyricist, Sameer, had said that he was surprised to find his name in the credits. 

 

Mumbai| Producer Sandip Singh, whose latest film “PM Narendra Modi” is embroiled in a controversy after Javed Akhtar expressed shock over getting credit for a song in the biopic, says the noted lyricist could have shared his grievance personally.

The 74-year-old writer’s name was mentioned in the credits of the film’s trailer alongside lyricists Prasoon Joshi, Sameer, Abhendra Kumar Upadhyay, Sardar, Parry G and Lavraj.

“Javed sahab is a senior writer in our country. We have grown up listening to his songs. We have used one of his old songs ‘Ishwar Allah’ from ‘1947: Earth’ and gave him credit. T-series is our music partner.

“I did not get any call from him and so I also did not call him. He spoke about it on Twitter, so even I replied there. But he could have called us,” Singh told PTI.

Apart from Akhtar, another veteran lyricist, Sameer, had said that he was surprised to find his name in the credits.

In his response, Singh said on Saturday that they gave credit to Sameer because they had incorporated his song “Suno gaur se Duniya walon” from the film “Dus”.

The trailer of the Omung Kumar-directed film, featuring Vivek Oberoi in the lead, released on Wednesday.

When asked about the response to the trailer, Singh said, “We can’t always have everyone like our work. We welcome all the criticism and we will learn from it.”

The film, which also features Boman Irani, Manoj Joshi, Zarina Wahab and Prashant Narayanan, releases on April 5.

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Vice Admiral Karanbir Singh becomes the new Navy Chief

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 New Delhi| The Modi government on Saturday appointed Vice-Admiral Karanbir Singh as the next Naval Chief of Staff. He will take over the charge from former Navy Chief Sunil Lamba. Vice Admiral Singh has been serving as the Flag Officer Commanding in Chief of the Eastern Naval Command in Visakhapatnam. According to a news agency, Lamba will retire as the Navy Chief on May 31, 2019.

The Vice-Admiral in his career spanning over 36 years has served as the Fleet Operations Officer of the Western Fleet. He has also been Joint Director Naval Air Staff at the Naval Headquarters, Captain Air and Officer-in-Charge of the Naval Air Station at Mumbai and as a member of the Aircrew Instrument Rating and Categorisation Team (AIRCATS).

 

 

 

 

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In the election month, 4.74 Cr farmers to get second installment of PM Kisan Scheme

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PM Kisan

Ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, the Centre announced the Rs 75,000-crore Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM Kisan) scheme.

 

New Delhi| About 4.74 crore small and marginal farmers registered under the PM-Kisan scheme before the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) for general election came into effect on March 10 will get the second instalment of Rs 2,000 each in their bank accounts, a senior government official said Saturday.

Of these 4.74 crore beneficiaries, 2.74 crore farmers have so far received the first instalment and the rest will be covered by month-end, he said.

The Election Commission of India (ECI) has allowed the Union Agriculture Ministry to transfer the first and second tranche of the payment to all those beneficiaries registered under the scheme before March 10, the official added.

Ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, the Centre announced the Rs 75,000-crore Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM Kisan) scheme under which Rs 6,000 per year would be disbursed in three instalments to around 12 crore farmers who hold cultivable land up to 2 hectares.

In the budget, the NDA government allocated a sum of Rs 20,000 crore, to transfer Rs 2,000 each to farmers in the first instalment by March-end, for the ongoing fiscal under the scheme.

The PM Kisan scheme was formally launched at the national level by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 24 at Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh by transferring the first instalment to 1.01 crore farmers, amounting Rs 2,021 crore.

“We were hoping to have the data of 12 crore farmers from across the country. But the data of 4.74 crore farmers have come before the MCC was enforced,” the official told PTI.

The government has already released the first instalment of Rs 2,000 each to 2.74 crore beneficiaries and the remaining will be covered before this month-end, he said.

With regard to the payment of the second tranche to begin from April 1, the official said the ECI has allowed making the payment to all those beneficiaries registered before the MCC kicked in.

“We can go ahead and make the payment of the first instalment to the rest of the people whose names are on the portal. We can go ahead and make the payment for the second instalment as well,” the official said.

In Uttar Pradesh, the first instalment has been released to around one crore farmers so far and the Centre has received data of additional 66 lakh farmers.

The official further said that Punjab and Haryana are amongst the top beneficiary states as more than 80 per cent of the farmers registered under the PM Kisan scheme have received the first instalment.

While, some states including West Bengal, Delhi and Sikkim have yet not submitted the farmers’ data and therefore no money has been transferred.

The official also mentioned that no fresh data has come from states after the MCC came into effect.

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