Citizens' Issues
Two killed in Mumbai slum blaze
Two people, including a child, were burnt to death and 11 others, including three women, suffered injuries in a fire that led to several gas cylinders exploding in a northwest Mumbai slum on Monday, officials said.
An official of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's disaster control cell said the fire erupted around 12.30 p.m. in the sprawling and densely populated Damunagar slum.
Within minutes, several gas cylinders in a nearby warehouse also caught fire and started exploding.
Witnesses said there were at least half a dozen deafening explosions and a thick smoke billowing from the flames was visible from several kilometres.
Additional Commissioner of Police (North) Fatehsingh Patil confirmed that a charred body was recovered while several other unidentified victims were rushed to BMC's Ambedkar Hospital.
A Disaster Control Cell official said around 2,000 hutments were reduced to ashes and the impact of the exploding cylinders led to a power failure in the entire locality that comprises posh skyscrapers of Thakur village.

Over 15 fire tenders, 10 water tankers and five ambulances were engaged in the relief operations and the fire was brought under control after nearly three hours.
The cause of the massive blaze, that engulfed an area spread over over 5,000 square metres, was being investigated.
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.



Resolving India's urban governance challenges
The recent flooding in Chennai and our reaction to it points to a deeper malaise affecting us all. It is not only to do with urban governance but, at a deeper level, it is about us as people.
There is no doubt that the city government, as well as the state government machinery, failed to provide adequate support. After all the government that the people get is as good as the people who elected them. There may, of course, be minor variations to this, but broadly speaking, it holds true. 
The fundamental reason, in our view, was a failure to systematically break down the problem and resolve it. This arises because of deeply embedded attitudes as well as the fact that people, as well as governments, do not use a systematic approach to resolving most issues - including the urban challenges facing most cities in India today. A good approach of the present dispensation at the centre is to take help from people in the global community for building/evolving India's smart cities. It must be balanced with experience from the ground to develop cities that are resilient to challenges like natural disasters, urban transportation, liveability, global terrorism and the like. 
Recently, on a conference trip to Japan we realized that the country too suffers from and is prone to natural disasters. But their response and our response have been markedly different. They have resolved these issues by using a consensus-driven systematic approach. Japan has been ravaged by earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions in the past. But this has not prevented them in building the second highest tower after Burj Khalifa in the heart of Tokyo in spite of being prone to earthquakes. While some may say it is crazy others see a consensus-driven technological approach to resolving and overcoming the challenges that face them. 
Contrast this with our approach. Most institutions and people in India try to blame the system for all that is wrong and try to take credit for little that is right. A recent case in point - sticking the Tamil Nadu chief minister's photographs on the food relief packets. Most times in India, when all else fails, the Indian Army is called in to resolve the issue. It is because they follow a process-driven rule-based systematic approach to tackle problems. Why cannot all Indians be a little more systematic in our approach in facing challenges? This suggestion extends to professionals (both within and outside the government) as well as all citizens. Another example that can be cited for our disregard for rules is easily seen on the road when we drive cars. Most of us while driving cars change lanes frantically. When we can very easily stop this haphazard approach putting at great risk our lives and other people's lives.
Another thing we observed in Japan was that people stand on one side of the escalators to allow people who are in a hurry to move quickly to the top of the escalators. In India, while moving up or down in the escalators of the Delhi Metro, we have observed little order and mostly chaos. It is a very small thing but it reveals a lot about our beliefs as a people. 
We talked to a wise man from Japan and what he revealed about Indians was telling. He said "Indians are all very smart. The problem is they look in different directions." It can be seen in our approach to tackling urban disasters, driving, standing in escalators or throwing litter on the roadside. Rather than looking in different directions we must forge consensus and work together, be it the governments at various levels (city, state or national) or businesses or civil society and media or any citizen. 
All must work together to mitigate the adverse impact of any disaster that happen. Some people may point out that our comparison is flawed, as Japan is a developed country while India is a developing one. It is a fair point but even with the resources we have, we can do much better. Also, it is our belief that a comparison is necessary not to criticize our country but to learn from the approach of others that may have brought them success over the past 60 years.
A fundamental shift is required in how we build systems that are resilient to disasters and calamities. It will only happen when we change our attitude to resolve the problems that we currently face. Over the next 15-20 years, we must learn from the experience of other countries to manage urbanization effectively and build our country. It will require a shift in technology, governance and institutional functioning but, above all it will require a shift in our attitude to a more process and consensus driven approach.
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.




Jyoti Dua

2 years ago

A good article by Amit Kappor. Our society needs lot of changes in attitude.

D S Ranga Rao

2 years ago

Wonderful! How true it is in respect of all other aspects of our life also everywhere in our country! When can we expect the end of paradox of Indians being undisciplined in India and well-behaved abroad?

Why Counting Mass Shootings is a Bad Way to Understand Gun Violence in America

It glosses over the broader reality of who is most at risk of being murdered with guns


According to articles this week across the Internet, there has been an average of one mass shooting every day in the United States: 355 so far this year. It's a jarring statistic, and one that has gone viral in the wake of this week's massacre in San Bernardino, California.


But there are two problems with the number: It doesn't actually provide a clear estimate of how often the country has seen shooting rampages like the one in San Bernardino. And it obscures the broader reality of gun violence in America.


Counting "mass shootings" is notoriously complicated and contested, since there is no standard definition of what they are. Is it best to count shootings that injure or kill a certain number of people? Or should the definition focus more narrowly on attacks in which the motivation of the shooter "appears to be indiscriminate killing"?


Mother Jones, which has been tracking mass shootings since 2012, has counted just four mass shootings this year, and a total of 73 since 1982, as Mother Jones editor Mark Follman has noted in The New York Times.


In 2014, the FBI released its own count of "active shooter" incidents, focusing on events where law enforcement and citizens may have the chance to intervene and change the outcome of the ongoing shooting. It tallied a total of 160 of these events from 2000 to 20132013including high-profile shootings at Virginia Tech, Fort Hood, and Sandy Hook Elementary School2013 with an average of 11 per year.


The "355 mass shootings this year" that has been rocketing around the Internet comes from a crowdsourced Reddit initiative that gathers media reports of shootings in which four or more people were shot.


The Reddit count includes many incidents that Mother Jones, the FBI, and others leave out: for instance, a home robbery, a drive-by shooting, and a gang fight.


The Reddit project's organizers suggest this broader approach does a better job of capturing the burden of gun violence2013including the suffering and costs of treating people who are shot and survive.


"The most obscene incidents of gun violence usually do not make the mainstream news at all," the project's introduction says, citing a nightclub shooting in Tennessee in which 18 people were shot and only one person killed. "We believe the media does a disservice to mass shooting victims by virtually ignoring them unless large numbers are killed."


Yet bundling together all incidents in which four people or more people are shot doesn't capture the bigger picture.


As ProPublica detailed last week, gun murder in America is largely a story of race and geography. Half of all gun murder victims are black men. The gun murder rate for black Americans is dramatically higher than it is for white Americans. And the burden of violence tends to be concentrated in certain neighborhoods of certain cities.


Bureau of Justice Statistics

Reddit's Mass Shooting Tracker does not include any breakdown by race. In response to questions about the group's numbers, one project organizer, GhostofAlyeska, wrote, "Our intent is not to analyze the causes or cures for gun violence, but simply to expose the available data. We're volunteers working from a reddit community, nothing more."


The Reddit project cites 462 people killed under its broad definition of mass shootings. The number of gun homicides of black men killed in 2013, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: 5,798.


Baltimore alone has seen a total of 316 total homicides so far this year2013the vast majority of them shooting deaths of black victims, according to the Baltimore Sun's homicide map. The city's homicide rate is now at a record high. The Reddit tracker captures eight of those deaths.


San Bernardino has two entries in this year's Mass Shooting Tracker: yesterday's attack, and a nightclub shooting reportedly linked to gang violence. The area has long struggled with poverty, gangs, and homicide. "My son was shot to death with an AK201347. My nephew was murdered and his body was burned and buried," San Bernardino resident Marisa Hernandez told Vice News on Wednesday. "This type of mass shootings happens everyday here to our kids and nobody stops it, nobody does anything."


ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for their newsletter.












Mahesh S Bhatt

2 years ago

Crazy Insecure racially divided dangerously corrupted values systems with market society where every life is valued/polluters are scot free after they pay/free sex caught paid as compensation.

They raised Iraq/raised Libya/Syria /fed Pak terrorist in name of terror in Kashmir but in real Oil control.

So Gita says what you sow so shall shall you reap.

Poor economic state coupled with financial stress is presciption for such more attacks.

Mahesh Bhat

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