The government has announced an ex-gratia of Rs5 lakh each to the next of kin of those killed while about Rs50,000 will be given to those who received minor injuries
Nine people were charred to death when a fire broke out in three coaches of Mumbai-Dehradun Express train near Dahanu road in neighbouring Thane district in the wee hours on Wednesday.
Among the nine dead, one is a woman and four are men while the rest were yet to be identified, said Sharat Chandrayan, public relations officer of Western Railway.
Four persons have sustained minor injuries, said police.
The government has announced an ex-gratia of Rs five lakh each to the next of kin of those killed. About Rs50,000 will be given to those who received minor injuries. The Railway Safety Commissioner will conduct an inquiry into the fire accident, Arunendra Kumar, chairman of Railway Board said.
Kumar said the damage was restricted due to an alert guard. The coaches have been separated from the train and the train has it made its forward journey.
The fire erupted in one of the three coaches and soon spread to other two coaches when the passengers were sleeping at about 2.50am, Chandrayan said, adding the cause of the blaze is not yet known.
He said that a level crossing gate man spotted the fire and immediately alerted the guard inside the train. The guard subsequently informed the motorman following which the train was stopped.
“Due to alertness of the gate man, a major disaster was averted,” Chandrayan said.
The National Grid will smooth load flow with least amount of voltage fluctuation. This is likely to make power problems a thing of the past
Almost 18 months ago, it may be recalled, that the whole of north, east and western India experienced a total power outage on 30th and 31 July 2012, it took more than 12 hours to restore power. It later transpired, as the system limped back to normalcy that this outage was caused by lack of tripping control and reckless use of power consumers who went over the prescribed limits of consumption or usage. They simply drew the power they wanted without caring that this would cause untold misery to others.
Thankfully, this lapse was the beginning point, when the power ministry went out on a war footing to overcome the national disgrace. Power Grid Corporation (PGC), a government of India undertaking, was able to commission the Raichur-Solapur 765 kilovolt (kV) single circuit line on 31 December 2013, thereby linking the unaffected southern grid to the northern system, making the grid truly India-centric! This Raichur-Solapur link line was scheduled to be completed by May 2014, at a cost of Rs815 crore, but PGC was able to overcome obstacles and complete the job ahead of time.
When the national grid becomes fully operational, in the next few months, the
Southern region will be able to get additional electricity flow of 1,500MW
For the sake of information, it may be recalled that this region witnessed a peak power deficit of 6.8% when the electricity demand had touched 34,118MW as against the availability of 31,786MW! In November 2013, India's total installed power generation capacity was 2,32,164MW with the southern region accounting for 57,529MW.
Now that the Raichur-Solapur link has been established, when fully operational, as stated above, 1,500MW would be available and this may result in lower power tariff to consumers in Andhra, Karnataka, Kerala, Puducherry and Tamil Nadu. This remains to be seen and the consumers are optimistic.
For more than a decade now, the southern region has experienced, most times, 20 hour power cuts in a day. This was "normal" occurrence for them, and, the link to the national grid has brought hope to both the consuming pubic and the industry, which has been, more often than not, forced to use diesel generating sets, resulting in high cost of power at Rs15 per unit or more, as compared to Rs4 or Rs5 that they would have otherwise paid to discoms. Open market purchases often cost Rs20 per unit, which now will be a thing of the past.
Now this national grid would operate on a single frequency resulting in smooth load flow, supplies reliable with least amount of voltage fluctuation. Sitting in New Delhi, technicians would be able to control load situation anywhere in the country and the chances of complete blackouts are most unlikely to occur.
The only fly in the ointment, if one may say so, is to the restructure and organise the efficient working of discoms to ensure minimum loss of power in distribution besides taking effective steps to eliminate pilferage. It is pilferage that needs to be checked and that cannot be done without the knowledge and cooperation of some staff members. This needs to be dealt with sternly.
While national power grid will enable smooth distribution of power, it is imperative that power generators do their very best to generate more power to meet the increasing demand.
(AK Ramdas has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the ministry of commerce. He was also associated with various committees of the Council. His international career took him to places like Beirut, Kuwait and Dubai at a time when these were small trading outposts; and later to the US.)
Which mutual fund schemes, of different categories, did well? And how would a lump-sum...