External experts to probe Bhilai plant fire
Ministers Chaudhary Birender Singh and Vishnu Deo Sai visited the accident site to assess the situation.
Incidents of ATM thefts, robberies or burglaries being reported from states like West Bengal, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh have become frequent and these incidents are causing a huge loss of hundreds of crores to the banks. This information was provided by the Ministry of Finance to the Lok Sabha in August this year.
Bihar has reported over 330 incidents of ATM thefts since 2015 and the number of incidents of ATM thefts and robbery in Bihar has increased since 2016. The number of incidents of ATM thefts reported in Bihar between 2016 and 2017 stood at more than 120 cases in each year, causing a loss of about Rs 10 crore to the banks, while Uttar Pradesh has reported some 292 incidents of ATM thefts from the state, causing a loss of Rs 14 crore to the banks.
West Bengal is not far behind, with over 290 incidents of ATM thefts being reported from the state during the same period, causing the banks to lose to the tune of Rs seven crore.
Cases of ATM thefts in Bengal were also on the rise during 2016 -17 and 105 such incidents were reported from the state each year in 2016-17.
In Jammu and Kashmir, most of the reports were about terrorists looting ATMs. Post demonetisation, more than 70 incidents of ATM thefts were reported from the state in 2016 and 2017.
National capital Delhi has also reported more than 130 cases of ATM thefts in the period 2015-June 2018, in which more than Rs 10 crore were looted from ATMs in different parts of the city. Police officials have said that the increase in the number of ATM thefts from different states shows the dismal law and order situation in the states.
A senior police official from the Delhi police said, “Incidents of ATM thefts have increased even in Delhi. We are taking measures like increasing night patrolling in areas and putting in place the prahari (guard) system for better vigilance.”
“The increasing number of such incidents from states shows that there is some problem with the law and order situation in the states. ATM thefts are done by criminals for easy money; they know that once they break open an ATM, they can get some Rs 10-15 lakh at one go,” the police official said.
A total of 3,167 incidents of robbery, thefts or burglary have been reported from several ATMs across different states in India causing a total loss of more than Rs 168 crore to different banks in India.
However, most of the North Eastern states have reported the lowest number of incidents of ATM thefts during2015June 2018. States like Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland have not seen a single case of ATM theft in the region, while states like Goa, Telangana, Uttarakhand, and Himachal Pradesh have also seen a very few such incidents. The Ministry of Steel will conduct a high-level enquiry by external experts into the devastating fire accident at Bhilai steel of plant in which 12 employees of Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) were killed.
This will be apart from the internal enquiry being carried out by the SAIL management, said a SAIL official. The fire, which began at a gas pipeline in the Coke Oven Battery Complex No 11 during a scheduled regular maintenance, also injured 11 people who are being treated for grievous burns at a local hospital.
Taking stern action, the SAIL management has suspended two senior officials of the plant, while CEO M. Ravi has been divested of his dues following the fire accident this week, said the official.
Union Steel Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh, along with his junior Vishnu Deo Sai and Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh, visited the Bhilai plant to take stock of the situation. They also went to the plant’s JLN Hospital & Research Centre where he held a meeting with the SAIL chairman and other company officials as well as the doctors and hospital administrators.
A team of doctors from Delhi’s AIIMS also reached Bhilai to assist the local medical team treating the injured employees, some of whom have sustained extensive burn injuries. The AIIMS doctors expressed satisfaction about the facilities in the hospital and the treatment being provided by hospital team.
Later, Birender Singh announced ex-gratia payment of Rs 30 lakh to the family of each of the deceased employees, Rs 15 lakh to the seriously injured employees and Rs 2 lakh to employees with minor injuries. He also assured all possible assistance to families of the deceased persons. The minister said that new techniques of de- blanking would be introduced to prevent recurrence of such incidents in future.
This is the second such accident at the plant in the last four years. In the earlier accident, six persons were killed when the main header of the pump house, which supplies water to the gas cleaning plants of the blast furnaces, suddenly ruptured in June 2014. Interestingly, the plant is considered as one of the best facilities of SAIL. Walking cautiously along the narrow lanes of Kumartuli, the traditional sculpting hub and potters lane in north Kolkata, one can easily locate the few women idol makers who have carved a niche for themselves in a world hitherto dominated by men. Popular female idol-maker Chaina Pal, who had to tackle sceptical customers in the past, recently visited China to showcase her work (two of her idols are displayed in a Chinese museum). Mala Pal, who has a similar story, is now a favourite for her miniature idols.
I loved visiting my father’s studio as a child, but he never encouraged me as a female was rarely seen in Kumartuli. Later, when he fell ill I could actually fill the gap as my elder brothers were busy doing their jobs. At the age of 14, I took charge of the workshop after he passed away, Chaina, who now runs another studio in Baghbazar with eight helpers, told IANS.
Explaining her initial hardship, she said: It was difficult as I did not know the entire process of idol-making, but my sheer love for the art helped me to learn it quickly. There has been no turning back for the little girl who took some time to win the confidence of customers.
Chaina has earned the title Dashabhuja (a reference to Goddess Durga, who has ten hands) for efficiently