Fire in Jet Airways plane; passengers safe

The Jet Airways plane was on the taxiway when the follow up vehicle saw a fire in the left engine of the aircraft

Mumbai: About 158 passengers on board Jet Airways Riyadh-Mumbai flight on Monday escaped unhurt after a fire broke out in the left engine of the aircraft on its landing at Mumbai, reports PTI.

The incident took place when the flight arrived around 5.40AM, airport sources said.

The Jet plane was on the taxiway when the follow me up vehicle saw a fire in the left engine of the aircraft.The pilot was told to hold and shut the engine, they said.

"However, the fire was immediately put out and all the passengers were deplaned safely," they added.

In a statement, Jet Airways said the flight 9W523 (Riyadh-Mumbai) was advised by the ATC to return to base as there was slight visibility of smoke from the engine as also observed by the cockpit crew.

"As per standard operating procedures, one engine was shut down and passengers were deplaned safely. The flight operation was stopped for about ten minutes," the statement added.



Mobile tower radiation, chemicals held for sparrow disappearance

Electro-magnetic radiation from mobile towers, use of leaded petrol in vehicles and overuse of chemicals and pesticides in agriculture have been cited as causes for disappearance of sparrows

Golaghat (Assam): Sparrows are disappearing from many parts of the country, and especially in Assam where electro-magnetic radiation from communication towers, use of leaded petrol in vehicles and overuse of chemicals and pesticides in agriculture have been cited as causes by scientists, reports PTI.

The chief scientist of the Regional Agriculture Research Centre in Lakhimpur, Dr Prabal Saikia, said, ''It is a fact that sparrows are becoming scarce throughout Assam - both house and tree sparrows."

Saikia said his research on house sparrows conducted in Guwahati and Lakhimpur, Dhemaji, Sonitpur, Jorhat and Tinsukia districts revealed that they had been sighted in greater number in the Dikhowmukh area of Upper Assam along the banks of the Brahmaputra and its tributaries in Dikhow and Mitong.

''Comparatively less pollution, large number of thatched huts and general awareness about environment protection are responsible for the concentration of sparrows at Dikhowmukh," Saikia pointed out.

Environmental activist Hiren Dutta of conservation organisation "Nature's Beckon" while conducting a survey in greater Dikhowmukh found that a group of sparrows had set up a colony in the verandah of a house at Krisnasiga village.

Dutta has noted that in five nests eight couples of sparrows have been living happily despite the fact that there is a mobile tower in the vicinity.

He said studies and surveys of sparrows were still continuing in the state and hence the number of sparrows in in Assam could not be ascertained.

The Ministry of Environment and Forests had set up a committee headed by the director of the Bombay Natural History Society, Dr Asad Rahmani, to study the possible impact of ''radiation from communication towers on wildlife, birds and bees''.

According to the report submitted by the committee, the electromagnetic radiation (EMR) from mobile towers was responsible for the decreasing number of sparrows and bees.

Referring to a study conducted by Punjab University, the committee cited an instance in which 50 foetuses were spoilt within 5.30 minutes when exposed to EMR. Apart from that, the sparrows affected by the radiation lose procreative power and sense of direction.





5 years ago

While a lot is being written about disappearance of sparrows, I would like to mention that around my house in Seawoods-Nerul(west) area, many sparrows come and perch on my terrace garden and on the gulmohar tree at the entrance of my building. They build nests sometimes inside my verandah between pipelines and the wall. Crows build nests in the many badam trees in our area and pigeons have a field day in laying eggs in potted plants in the flower beds of many flats. Koels sing in the mornings and some birds with colorful wings hop around the plants in our building compound. In our area many buildings sport mobile towers and our own building has a Tata teleservice tower for internet. How well corelated are these studies linking radiation effects to disappearance of sparrows in some areas or are they mere conjectures?

Public Interest Exclusive
Petrol price hike – I: Some people should be celebrating

The largest chunk of the petrol price hike goes to the government not just as taxes bit in other ways—only to perpetuate a colossal waste by netas and babus in the name of running this country. They should be happy with the price hike

Petrol prices are up. And political formation ‘A’ in power, has timed the announcement to divert attention from the collapsing rupee-dollar exchange or other the utter failure of the UPA-II in its second anniversary. Political formation ‘B’ announces protests and bandhs. The population join in the noise for a few days, and after a few more days, ‘A’ and ‘B’ and their cohorts, which is mainly the mantri/santri/babu combine, go back to loot and scoot some more.

Certainly, there are small rays of hope. Narendra Modi leads by example in the way public transport has improved in Gujarat and even the benefit of better commercial transport has re-energised Gujarat. But for the most, it is business as usual. You wish we had a different transportation policy but sadly we don’t. Take the case of the rise in price of petrol, something that affects two-wheelers more than any other segment. Given half a decent chance, pretty much every two-wheeler owner and operator would choose to use public transport—as over two million people on the Delhi Metro and another 7-8 lakh people on Delhi’s better and improved buses would agree. And similar numbers in Hyderabad, Kolkata and Chennai. But what about the rest? Are they not entitled to better public transport, in the smaller towns and cities of India, so that they too can leave their two-wheelers at home—especially when it is mostly about a commute to office and back? The answer lies in analysing, as always, who benefits from increasing prices and taxes.

1) Taxes and other levies, including customs duty, central taxes, state taxes, city taxes et al, are mostly with a few minor exceptions, levied on a percentage basis. Therefore, if the base price goes up, so do the realisations by ways of taxes and duties. And we are all aware of how these are misused, embezzled or diverted. Higher prices, higher taxes collected, higher the frauds—as simple as that. Just comparing the prices of petrol in different cities and getting the break-up from your filling station will give you an idea—especially in cities like Bengaluru, where it is amongst the highest in the country.

For example, over Rs2 for every litre of diesel sold and a higher amount for petrol is supposed to go to a highway development fund. There is no track of where this money is going, how it is being spent, or even when it will be accounted for. But the amount will go up every time the base price goes up, often in an arbitrary manner.

2) Whether in the public or the private sector, the tendency to misuse official funds so that personal expenses can be minimised, is reaching new highs. For example—a personal auto-rickshaw ride to drop the children to school may cost, say, Rs50. Summoning a government car for the same job, however, would cost over Rs1,500 after taking all costs into account. (This number was presented to me by a contact in the GAD—General Administration Department—of a government office).

Obviously, this sort of embezzlement will not survive without a downstream payout. In other words, the more the senior mantri/babu embezzles, the more there is for everybody to share down the line. An increase in the cost of fuel, therefore, simply increases the potential for embezzlement and therefore the payout for everybody. The introduction of low-cost CNG was considered to be a major ‘loss’ for many in the assorted GAD and finance & accounts departments of many offices, both government and private, and therefore strongly resisted. Till today, for example, you will observe, they rarely use CNG vehicles for their fleet.

3) The third group of people who will be celebrating the increase in the price of petrol will be those in the increasingly streamlined groups operating across formation ‘A’ and ‘B’ in their all-India business of adulterated fuel. The linkage here to the babu/santri/mantri combine is frightening, especially as it also impacts India's energy, military and economic security. As we all know, the price of subsidised kerosene and other components of adulterants has remained more or less static. But with the price of petrol having gone up, our mantri/santri/babu combine have presented themselves with even better margins and with lower efforts. The usage of adulterated fuel will also be market driven. The retailer will seek adulterated fuel to improve his margins. The vehicle operator, unmindful of the effect on his vehicle, will also not be averse to saving some money on fuel. And so it will go on.

In a side note, this adulterated fuel industry is so strong that single-handedly it can and is destroying every attempt being made to introduce renewable energy options in India. And it is strongest within the public sector oil companies, who by rights should have been at the forefront of developing methods to increase efficiencies and reduce basic costs of fossil fuels—but are simply refusing to do so, even though they can.

Is there no way to fix this? That is the subject of the next article.

(Veeresh Malik had a long career in the Merchant Navy, which he left in 1983. He has qualifications in ship-broking and chartering, loves to travel, and has been in print and electronic media for over two decades. After starting and selling a couple of companies, is now back to his first love-writing.)




5 years ago

If the govt had been serious about checking the inflationary impact of the high oil prices, it would have retained the excise and tax component fixed at the amount being recovered as on the date of the increase. By keeping the ad valorem percentage based taxation, the govt was actually benefiting from the misery of the common man, and adding to the inflationary fire, while sadly shaking its head about the "uncontrollable" high international oil prices. This was a sly way to boost revenue extraction from the people's pockets, without incurring any opprobrium, so that the government could continue with its profligate splurging, like buying 12 of the world's most expensive "specially fitted" helicopters from the Italian company, AgustaWestland, for use by India's rulers at a cost of Euros 556.23 million.

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