Citizens' Issues
Flyover collapses in Kolkata; 18 dead, many injured
Kolkata : A part of a flyover under construction here collapsed on Thursday, reportedly trapping several people in the debris, police said.
 
A portion of the Vivekananda Flyover crashed in the congested Barabazar area. Disaster management and trauma care teams reached the spot to rescue those trapped.
 
According to later reports, at least two people were killed and over 100 injured when a part of a flyover under construction collapsed over taxis and other vehicles in a congested area here on Thursday, police said.
 
At least 10-12 people were rushed from the debris to the Calcutta Medical College and Hospital. Several others were reported trapped under the debris in the northern part of the metropolis.
 
"Two bodies have been extricated," a police officer said. The disaster occurred around 12.30 p.m.
 
"We brought out 10-12 people. We cannot say whether they are dead or alive," said another police officer.
 
A National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) official put the number of injured at around 100. 
 
Disaster management and trauma care teams, including from NDRF, joined the rescue and relief operations. So did hundreds of locals. 
 
The West Bengal government had sought army help in the rescue efforts. Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee was rushing back to Kolkata from Midnapore. 
 
"There was a sudden thundering noise" as the Vivekananda Flyover came crashing down, a witness said. 
 
He said he saw the flyover collapse over taxis, auto-rickshaws and other vehicles. 
 
Several vehicles, including a mini bus, two taxis and three auto-rickshaws, were still buried under the debris.
 
"More than 100 people must have been (buried) beneath it... It is a huge loss," the witness said.
 
Human body parts were seen in the debris, with blood splattered on the road.
 
The long-delayed 2.5-km flyover under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission was expected to tackle congestion in Burrabazar area - the location of one of the largest wholesale markets in Asia - up to the Howrah station, the gateway to the city.
 
The project's foundation was laid in 2008 and work on the Rs.164-crore project began on February 24, 2009. 
 
It was scheduled to be completed in 2012 but land acquisition issues delayed its completion. The implementing agency too ran into financial troubles.
 
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Scientists find Mars surface replica in India
Kolkata : Why wait for a million-dollar ticket to Mars when you can have an inter-planetary experience a la Oscar nominated blockbuster "The Martian" right here in India?
 
One simply needs to head over to the western Indian state of Gujarat to glimpse the remarkable rocky landscape similar to the Red planet.
 
A replica or "terrestrial analogue" of the Martian surface has been discovered in the state, thanks to Indian scientists from the Space Applications Center (SAC-ISRO) in Ahmedabad, Indian Institute of Technology-Kharagpur and the National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) in Hyderabad.
 
The team identified and documented the presence of a rare mineral jarosite through spectroscopic studies in Matanumadh area (86 km northwest of Bhuj) in Kachch district of Gujarat, a finding which links it to the Red planet. This work is part of a programme initiated by SAC-ISRO under its Mars mission.
 
"The landscape of Matanumadh with its unusual mineral assemblage, including jarosite, in a basalt terrain, mimics the geological environment of many of the identified jarosite localities on Mars," Saibal Gupta, professor in Department of Geology and Geophysics at IIT-Kharagpur, told IANS.
 
Presence of the rare mineral was reported from various parts of the surface of the Red planet by NASA's Mars exploration rover Opportunity in 2004. Since then, other rovers have detected jarosite at several localities on the planet's surface.
 
The fact that jarosite is found in limited natural terrestrial environments means "extreme and unusual" conditions are required for its formation and stabilisation.
 
"The Martian surface must, at some time, have experienced these conditions. Thus, the positive identification of jarosite, in addition to the previously reported minerals natroalunite and minamiite, is a major argument in favour of the Matanumadh Formation representing a Martian analog locality," contended Souvik Mitra, of IIT-Kharagpur.
 
In fact, as a clone, the Indian site more closely resembles the Martian surface than known Western Australian jarosite localites, note the researchers in the study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets in March.
 
The significance of the discovery is multi-fold and could have implications in the way we explore the Martian surface.
 
NASA is working to send humans to Mars in the 2030s, but there are many milestones to accomplish to ensure that astronauts come back to the Earth safely, the space agency says on its website.
 
"The two essential conditions for jarosite formation are near-surface acidic water and oxidizing conditions. Understanding how jarosite formed in the Matanumadh Formation may shed light on the final stages of aqueous (water-based) activity in parts of the Martian surface," said Mitra. Last year, NASA scientists found evidence of flowing water on Mars.
 
Mitra envisages if the local tourism authorities can educate the locals about the site and its link to Mars, then it could also benefit regional tourism.
 
Most importantly, in addition to sending up sophisticated robots and probes on Mars to study it, investigations could be carried out right at the Matanumadh Formation at a reduced cost, to understand what transpired on Mars a few billion years ago, according to Gupta.
 
"This is no substitute to human exploration of the Martian surface, but that could be quite some time in the future. Till then, these analog localities provide a starting point for knowing what to expect."
 
"In fact, this work is a demonstration of what collaboration between scientists from different organisations within India can do, and SAC-ISRO is to be commended for this endeavour," Gupta added.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Want to stay strong even at old age? Exercise regularly
Toronto : The "secret" to staying strong as we age is superb fitness that can be achieved by regular exercise, suggests new research.
 
The study found that people who were elite athletes in their youth or later in life have much healthier muscles at the cellular level compared to those of non-athletes.
 
The study, published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, compared world-class track and field athletes in their 80s with people of the same age who are living independently. 
 
"One of the most unique and novel aspects of this study is the exceptional participants," said researcher Geoff Power, professor at University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada.
 
"These are individuals in their 80s and 90s who actively compete in world masters track and field championships. We have seven world champions. These individuals are the creme de la creme of ageing," Power noted.
 
The study found that athletes' legs were 25 percent stronger on average and had about 14 percent more total muscle mass.
 
In addition, the athletes had nearly one-third more motor units in their leg muscles than non-athletes.
 
More motor units, consisting of nerve and muscle fibres, mean more muscle mass and subsequently greater strength.
 
With normal ageing, the nervous system lose motor neurons, leading to a loss of motor units, reduced muscle mass, less strength, speed and power. That process speeds up substantially past age 60.
 
"Therefore, identifying opportunities to intervene and delay the loss of motor units in old age is of critical importance," Power said.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
 

 

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