City Buzz: How safe are our airports? | Ahmedabad hospital fire | Delhi EV policy…and more

Weekly Urban News Round-Up

Damaged Air India's flight after the crash at Kozhikode Airport, Kerala. Pic: Hardeep S Puri/Twitter

Kozhikode Air Crash: Government announces compensation, safety experts slam DGCA


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The tragic air accident that claimed 18 lives, including the pilot and co-pilot, has reignited the debate over the safety of ‘tabletop’ airports, of which there are six in the country. Air safety experts have come down sharply against the DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation), holding it accountable for the slipshod manner in which safety audits are done and their findings acted upon. Tabletop runways such as the one at Kozhikode are constructed on a hilly or an elevated terrain, and are known to be very tricky even for the most skilled of pilots.

In 2010, a similar crash landing in Mangalore had claimed 158 lives and aviation safety activist Yeshwanth Shenoy told The New Indian Express that no lessons were learnt from the incident. Another safety expert Mohan Rangnathan told media that he had warned the authorities in 2011 about the dangers of landing on Runway 10 of Kozhikode airport, especially in tailwind conditions in rain. In fact, he went so far as to say that unless the authorities take appropriate measures, similar accidents could be repeated at Patna and Jammu airports.

After the tragic crash landing of the Air India flight at the Kozhikode Airport in Kerala on the fateful night of August 7th, the Civil Aviation Ministry has announced a compensation of Rs. 10 lakhs for the kin of each deceased, Rs. 2 lakh for seriously injured and Rs. 50,000 for those who sustained minor injuries. The Kerala Government has also announced a compensation of Rs. 10 lakh for those who lost their lives.

So far, 18 people have been reported to be dead in the accident. Pilot and co-pilot also lost their lives. The Air India flight was coming from Dubai to Calicut with 190 passengers on board as a part of the Government’s Vande Bharat Mission. The government has ordered a probe into the crash.

CISF personnel engaged in the rescue operation have been directed to undergo COVID-19 tests and go into self-quarantine. Till now, two passengers from the flight have tested positive for COVID-19.

Source: Hindustan Times | The New Indian Express | The Indian Express

Fire in Ahmedabad COVID hospital kills 8

Shrey Hospital, a private hospital in the Navrangpura area of Ahmedabad and a designated COVID treatment facility, saw a devastating fire that led to the death of eight patients, all of them COVID patients in the fourth floor ICU of the hospital which was completely charred. The fire started reportedly in the wee hours of Thursday, August 6th and is suspected to have started due to a short-circuit in the ICU.

In the investigation that immediately followed the incident, it came to light that the hospital was functioning without a valid fire clearance certificate. Located among residential buildings in a lane in the abovementioned area, the hospital had one entry and exit point and narrow stairs leading to the higher floors. In a typically reactive response to the incident, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation ordered a fire safety audit of the 72 COVID designated hospitals in the city. According to reports, the team had conducted the audit of nearly 20 COVID-designated hospitals the next day, of which many were found lacking fire safety NOC.

This fire, however, is neither the first such incident nor one that has been reported in a long time. A media report says that in the last 16 months, six incidents of fire in public and private hospitals have been reported at private and public health facilities in the city, including the one at Shrey hospital.

Source: The Indian Express | Ahmedabad Mirror

Delhi: AAP Government announces EV policy

On August 7th, the Delhi Government launched its Electric Vehicle (EV) Policy. While interacting with the media, CM Arvind Kejriwal said that the policy is being launched with the dual objective of boosting the capital’s economy and curbing the problem of air pollution. The policy is stated to provide incentives of worth Rs. 1.5 lakhs. along with a waiver of the registration fee and road tax.

The policy aims to include 25% electric vehicles by 2024, which at present is only 0.29%. The government is expecting the registration of 5 lakh new EVs in next five years in the capital. The government will create an ‘EV Cell’ for implementing the policy in the national capital.

Source: Livemint

New quarantine rules for tourists in Goa

The government of Goa has made institutional quarantine mandatory for people with symptoms until the test results are available. The new guidelines have also made 14 day home or institutional quarantine mandatory for all persons landing in Goa.

The guidelines further stated that if tourists are carrying COVID-19 negative report from an ICMR authorized testing lab, not older than 48 hours prior to their arrival, they can directly proceed to their booked accommodation.

In case of no negative report, tourists will be asked to undergo a test and self-isolation till the reports are out.

Source: The Times of India

Night curfew re-imposed in three most affected cities in Punjab

The Punjab government has ordered re-imposition of night curfew in the three most affected cities of Punjab: Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Patiala. The curfew timings will be from 9 PM to 5 AM. Along with this, the state government has directed all major cities and towns to prepare an integrated plan to treat the disease at both government and private COVID-19 facilities.

The state government decided not to lift the curfew after the recent Unlock 3.0 guidelines released by the central government. The tally of cases in Punjab have crossed the 20,000 mark.

Source: The Indian Express

Telangana HC raps government for no action against Hyderabad hospitals

The Telangana government had provided land at concessional rates to two private hospitals in Hyderabad, Apollo Hospital at Jubilee Hills and the Basavatarakam Indo-American Cancer Hospital and Research Institute at Banjara Hills both of which promised to provide free treatment to people from marginalized sections. However, in reality, these hospitals have not only denied providing treatment to underprivileged COVID-19 patients, but have been charging exorbitant amounts for treatment.

Taking note of this, the High Court questioned the government why it had not taken any action against the two private hospitals.

Hearing a PIL filed by Omim Manekshaw Debara, president of an NGO named Confederation of Voluntary Associations (COVA), the High Court has issued notices to both the government and the hospitals to reply to the petition and present an explanation for not providing free treatment to people from marginalized sections.

Source: Deccan Chronicle

Compiled by Rishabh Shrivastava


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The News Desk at Citizen Matters puts out Press Releases, notifications and curated information useful to the urban reader.