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REPORT ON PAGES 8 & 9
MCI (P) 078/03/2019
SINGAPORE, WEEKEND OF FRIDAY,
JUNE 21, 2019
TO SHARE SCREEN
AFTER 15 YEARS
‘Every 20 seconds, one Indian
suffers a brain stroke’
Every 20 seconds, one Indian suffers a
brain stroke and the numbers are
increasing alarmingly due to changing
At this rate, about 1.54 million
Indians are affected by strokes every
year and what is worse is that 90 per
cent of stroke patients fail to reach
hospital on time.
These revelations came to light at the
three-day Fourth Congress of Society of
Neuro Vascular Intervention Mumbai
2019, with international participation,
Prominent speakers said the message
was simple but alarming – that in India
the numbers of brain strokes are
increasing and it would not be wrong to
say they are “life-style related”.
Seven die cleaning hotel
Seven people suffocated to death while
cleaning a hotel septic tank without
safety gear in Gujarat’s Vadodara
district last Saturday.
The hotel owner has been charged
with causing death due to negligence
following the incident.
“One person entered the tank, but
when he did not come out and did not
respond to calls, three other cleaners
went inside to help him,” said Vadodara
fire officer Nikunj Azad, who led the
“When all four did not emerge after
some time, three hotel employees also
entered the tank, and all seven lost their
lives in the process.”
Ban on liquor, non-vegetarian food
around Varanasi temples
A ban has been imposed on the sale and
consumption of liquor and
non-vegetarian food within a 250m
radius of all temples and heritage sites
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi
Adityanath had in April announced a
ban on liquor shops and sale of
non-vegetarian food at all places of
worship including Varanasi, Vrindavan,
Ayodhya, Chitrakoot, Deoband, Dewa
Sharif and Misrikh-Naimisharanya.
UP highways to have herbal
plantations for clean air
The national and state highways in
Uttar Pradesh will soon have clean and
bacteria-free air as the state
government is planning to plant herbal
Ayurvedic plants along the highways in
the state to improve air quality and
promote Ayurveda. A pilot project has
been launched in 18 districts.
According to Deputy Chief Minister
Keshav Maurya, Uttar Pradesh will be
the first state in India to implement this
Air India flight delayed after spat
over pilot’s lunch box
The captain and a crew member of an
Air India flight nearly came to blows
when the pilot allegedly ordered the
junior staff to wash his lunch box.
The incident occurred on Monday at
the Bengaluru airport onboard the
Bengaluru- Kolkata flight in front of
passengers. This delayed the flight by
more than two hours.
Consequently, Air India is likely to
ban pilots from carrying their own food
on board an aircraft.
Headless corpse recovered from
near Kamakhya temple
Ahead of the much-awaited
Ambubachi festival, a headless body of
a woman was recovered from near the
Bandurga temple, located close to the
historical Kamakhya temple atop
Nilachal hill, in Guwahati, Assam.
Some locals spotted the headless
body of the woman around 7pm on
Wednesday, police said. The witnesses
also spotted some material used in
rituals near the body.
The police said the head is yet to be
recovered. Investigations are ongoing.
Report: Mumbai motorists waste
most time in jams
A recent global study based on
statistical analysis of GPS data has
found that Mumbai motorists face the
worst traffic jams.
The report stated that commuters in
the city spend 65 per cent more time on
the roads during peak hours than when
the roads are free.
The result puts the city ahead of
Bogota, Lima, New Delhi and others as
the most congested city on its TomTom
Traffic Index 2018.
In comparison, a New Yorker spends
36 per cent more time on the roads
during peak hours.
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Mr Chanchal Lahiri being lowered into the river.
Indian Houdini drowns after ‘magic’ act
Police on Monday recovered the body of a
magician who drowned while trying to replicate
an underwater Houdini-inspired stunt – tying his
hands and legs with chains and ropes and being
lowered into the Hooghly river in Kolkata.
Rescue workers found the body of
Mr Chanchal Lahiri, 42, washed up around 2km
from the site of the incident. According to Indian
media reports, his hands were free but his legs
were still bound by chain and rope when he was
Authorities had initially believed that the
vanishing act could be part of the stunt but
immediately mobilised help to rescue him.
Mr Lahiri had reportedly obtained permission
from authorities to perform the stunt on a boat
but had not mentioned that it would have a
“connection with water”. Police are still
Hotels in India’s southern city of Chen-
nai are rationing water for guests amid
searing heat, while companies limit
showers as the city of 4.6 million faces
its worst shortage in years.
All four reservoirs that supply Chen-
nai, known as the Detroit of south Asia
for its flourishing automobile industry,
have run dry this summer, largely be-
cause of poor monsoon rains last year.
The Cholavaram, full capacity 1,081
million cubic feet (mcft), and Redhills
(3,300 mcft) reservoirs, which cater to
Chennai’s water needs, are dry.
The storage at Poondi reservoir is 24
mcft as against the full capacity of 3,231
mcft, according to the Chennai Metro-
politan Water Supply and Sewerage
The Chembarambakkam lake (full ca-
pacity 3,645 mcft) has a water level of a
mere 1 mcft.
Chennai is one of 21 Indian cities
that a government think-tank warned
last year could run out of ground water
This year’s monsoon is delayed, fur-
ther compounding problems across a
swathe of western and central India.
Employees in Chennai-based compa-
nies such as Fiat Chrysler, Tata Consul-
tancy Services, Wipro and Cognizant
said they had been asked to cut back on
water use in canteens and restrooms.
Cognizant, which employs thou-
sands in the city, said it had cut down on
water at its canteen and gym.
“We have also switched to biodegrad-
able plates in all our cafeterias, tempo-
rarily closed shower facilities in our
gyms and minimised the washing of
utensils in our campuses by our cafete-
ria vendors,” the company said in a
Water storage levels in the city’s four
major reservoirs were one-hundredth of
what they were this time last year – and
at a mere 0.2 per cent of capacity, ac-
cording to state government data.
Chennai is entirely dependent on the
northeast monsoon which begins in Oc-
In the last three months of last year,
the city received lower than average
rainfall, with the deficit rising to as
much as 80 per cent in December, ac-
cording to India’s weather office.
Ananda, a small hotel in southern
Chennai, had a notice at its entrance
warning of water shortage.
“It’s not just us, all the hotels run the
risk of shutting down because there’s
hardly enough water,” said Mr P. Chan-
drasekhar, a supervisor at the hotel.
Facing severe water shortage and
high vegetable prices, restaurants and
hotels serving south Indian meals are
mulling ways to tackle the situation, in-
cluding stopping lunch meals.
“It is a major crisis faced by the ho-
tels in Chennai and also in other parts
of the state. With rains failing, the prices
of vegetables have gone up. Further,
with the severe water shortage, the hote-
liers are facing a very tough situation,”
said Mr R. Srinivasan, secretary, Tamil
Nadu Hotels Association.
State authorities said they have been
stepping up water supplies to the city
each year. “In 2017, we were supplying
450 million litres of water. Now we are
supplying 525 million litres per day,”
said Mr S. P. Velumani, the minister for
Across the city, residents could be
seen holding buckets and crowding
around water tankers in temperatures of
over 40 degrees Centigrade, as the me-
dia reported scuffles.
Reuters, Indo-Asian News Service
Taps run dry in Chennai
A man uses a hand-pump to fill a container with drinking water in Chennai.
June 21, 2019
Residents of Asia’s most famous slum
fear a multi-billion-dollar plan to trans-
form the area into a Singapore-like en-
clave featuring luxury skyscrapers and
shopping malls will destroy its vast infor-
Indian authorities have asked a devel-
oper to tear down and rebuild Dharavi,
a bustling settlement in Mumbai known
as the backdrop for Danny Boyle’s hit
2008 movie Slumdog Millionaire.
Supporters say the project will uplift
hundreds of thousands of lives, but crit-
ics claim it will destroy Dharavi’s social
fabric and accuse officials of pandering
to property developers.
“Dharavi is the beating heart of
Mumbai... the government wants to
grab it,” said liquid-soap manufacturer
Ashraf Sheikh, who recently went on an
eight-day hunger strike over the redevel-
Dharavi is one of Asia’s biggest
slums. Estimates vary, but between
700,000 and one million people cram
into tiny homes on the 520-acre site.
Hundreds queue up to use public wash-
rooms. But the area defies most West-
ern notions of a slum. Dharavi is a hive
of economic activity and boasts an esti-
mated annual turnover of more than
Industries include pottery, leather
and textiles – about 5,000 businesses op-
erate from around 15,000 one-room
workshops. Masses of rubbish are also
separated there for recycling.
Mumbai officials tried to redevelop
Dharavi two decades ago. Several at-
tempts failed due to the difficulty of
moving the vast numbers of slum-
dwellers who depend on informal work
“We have been living and working
here for over 100 years... You’ll have to
shoot us before building your towers
here,” said potter Mepa Gudiya, who ex-
ports earthenware across India and
The Maharashtra state government is
trying again and recently put the rede-
velopment out to tender.
A Dubai-based developer backed by
royal families from the United Arab Emi-
rates emerged the highest bidder.
The ambitious scheme, projected to
cost around US$4 billion ($5.4 billion),
will include demolishing tens of thou-
sands of dilapidated slum houses and re-
placing them with several hundred tow-
ers up to 30 storeys high.
Around 70,000 families could be eli-
gible for free apartments around 300
square-foot in size “that will be as good
as any in Dubai or Singapore,” accord-
ing to Mr Nilang Shah, CEO of SecLink
Group, the master developer.
He wants to turn the area into a
“smart city” with separate commercial
and residential zones, as well as creating
a “New York-like Central Park” and a
“modern marina” in a nearby polluted
bay. “Lives will be enhanced without de-
stroying their social fabric. It can be a
model for the world,” Shah said.
Muskan Sheikh, 15, is excited by the
prospect. She lives in a bathroom-less
one-room house with five relatives sleep-
ing head-to-toe. “I often have to wait 20
minutes in a line to use the toilet. Dur-
ing the night I just hold it in because I
don’t want to step outside,” she said.
Many Dharavi residents are scepti-
cal, however. They would welcome new
homes with private bathrooms and run-
ning water but worry that the intrinsic
nature of Dharavi, where people live
and work out of the same room, will dis-
appear. “We’re afraid that it will just be-
come another high-rise area and we’ll
all be put in one tower,” said petroleum
businessman Fakhrul Islam.
SecLink estimates that the revenue
potential from the free sale of scores of
towers is US$15 billion.
“Unfortunately it’s the interests of
the real estate lobby that is guiding deci-
sions about Dharavi’s development,”
said Ms Kalpana Sharma, author of the
book “Rediscovering Dharavi”.
Authorities are soon expected to sur-
vey Dharavi to determine how many
families settled there before 2000, mak-
ing them eligible for free homes.
Work will then commence, according
to Mr Shah, who predicts that all slum
dwellers will be rehoused in five years.
Slum-dwellers fear Dharavi redevelopment
A man working in a cloth dyeing factory in Dharavi.
June 21, 2019
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