ONGC barge tragedy: MVA seeks Dharmendra Pradhan’s resignation
As the toll in the Arabian Sea barge tragedy rose to 37, Maharashtra’s ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) allies on Thursday demanded that Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan must be held accountable and should quit over the loss of precious human lives.
Hitting out at the Centre, Shiv Sena MP and senior leader Arvind Sawant said that if there had been a similar tragedy in Maharashtra, the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party leaders would have sought resignations of the people in the government.
“The ONGC is under the Petroleum Ministry headed by Dharmendra Pradhan. Why don’t the BJP leaders seek his resignation? Who will be held accountable for the huge loss of lives in this tragedy, give compensation and other relief… Merely pointing fingers won’t do?” Sawant said.
Terming it as a ‘man-made tragedy’, Congress State Spokesperson Sachin Sawant said that 37 innocent people on the Barge Papaa-305 died when it sank, while another 38-plus are missing.
“The warnings of the imminent Cyclone Tauktae had been given in advance. Action must be taken against all those responsible for endangering lives of the workers. Dharmendra Pradhan should resign taking moral responsibility,” Sawant demanded.
Seeking action and charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder against all responsible for the barge disaster, Minorities Affairs Minister Nawab Malik said that “Pradhan must be held answerable” for the incident which left 37 people dead and many more missing.
“Everyone was aware of the cyclone and warnings were issued for all to take necessary precautions. While fisherfolk were moved to safety and prevented from going to the sea, why did the ONGC not heed these warnings and follow safety protocols?” Malik asked.
He said that all the workers should have been evacuated from the barges or oil rigs and brought ashore before the monster cyclone hit as is the norm worldwide, which was not done.
“Due to the ONGC’s failure, more than 600 lives were endangered and 37 have already been killed besides many more missing. Strict action must be taken against those in-charge at ONGC and they should be booked under charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder,” Malik demanded.
The MVA leaders’ responses came after the Barge Papaa-305 with 261 people on board went adrift. It sank late on Monday and later 37 bodies were recovered while the rest were saved in commendable operations by the Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard.
Besides Papaa-305, two other barges and an oil-drilling rig were also hit badly by Cyclone Tauktae which virtually went overhead the Bombay High Fields of the ONGC on Monday before making landfall in Gujarat.
Mumbai News: Massive Fire Engulfs Multi-Floor Building In SoBo’s Zaveri Bazar; Several Trapped Persons Rescued Safely (WATCH)
A Level III fire broke out in a multi-floor building located near the iconic Mumbadevi Temple in Zaveri Bazar, Kalbadevi, in the early hours of June 9. The incident was reported by the Mumbai Fire Brigade (MFB) at 1.38 am. Prompt action was taken by the fire department, resulting in the safe evacuation of approximately 50-60 trapped individuals.
The fire has severely affected the ground, first, second, third, fourth, and fifth floors of the building. Over 12 fire tenders were involved in the firefighting operations.
Officials said that the fire was extinguished by 7.55 am. However, it is yet to be ascertained as to what caused the blaze.
One person sustained injuries said the officials. Parag Chakankar (40) had suffered minor burn in right hand and it was treated and discharged by medical team on site.
Details of the Incident
Upon arrival at the building located in Kalbadevi’s China Bazaar, the MFB declared the blaze a Level III fire around 3.25 am highlighting the severity of the situation. The fire was initially contained within the lower floors of the building but quickly spread to the upper six floors.
The intense heat and flames caused a part of the ceiling on the first and second floors, as well as a portion of the staircase, to collapse. No injuries have been reported thus far.
Rescue Efforts and Precautionary Measures
The Mumbai Fire Brigade swiftly initiated rescue operations, utilizing the adjacent building’s staircase to safely evacuate approximately 50-60 trapped individuals. Firefighters exhibited exemplary courage and professionalism while carrying out the rescue mission.
Mumbai News: Cyclone Biparjoy Intensifies, City to Experience Heavy Rains Over Weekend
Mumbaikars are set to experience intense rain over the weekend. Heavy to very heavy rainfall is expected in the Mumbai and Konkan regions on Saturday and Sunday, according to a five-day forecast by the India Meteorological Department (IMD), which said on Wednesday that a low-pressure area over the Arabian Sea is likely to intensify into a depression by Friday evening. Isolated parts of Mumbai, Thane and Palghar will experience light to moderate rainfall from June 7, according to the IMD.
City in for heavy rain
“The deep depression intensified into the cyclonic storm Biparjoy over east-central Arabian Sea at 5.30 pm and is likely to move nearly northwards and intensify into a severe cyclonic storm during the next 24 hours,” said an IMD official. The cyclone is also likely to lead to rough weather in the coastal areas of Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka and Kerala, IMD said and issued a five-day warning for the region from June 7. It warned fishermen in the region not to venture into the sea.
The wind speed in the Arabian Sea is likely to range from 80 kmph to 155 kmph over the next five days, according to the weather agency. Meteorologists, however, underlined that though the tentative track of the system is likely to be in the northward direction storms at times defy the predicted track and intensity.
Monsoon to progress slowly
Conditions have become favourable for the onset of the southwest monsoon in Kerala, because of Biparjoy, the first storm brewing in the Arabian Sea this year, according to experts. However, meteorologists predicted a “mild” onset over Kerala and “weak” progress beyond the southern peninsula. After the onset over Kerala, the monsoon is expected to remain “weak” until the storm degenerates around June 12, according to Mahesh Palawat, vice president (climate and meteorology) Skymet Weather.
“The powerful weather system in the Arabian Sea may spoil the advancement of the monsoon deep inland. Under their influence, the monsoon stream may reach coastal parts but will struggle to penetrate beyond the Western Ghats,” Skymet Weather had said on Tuesday.
Forecasting agencies said the storm has seen “rapid intensification”, escalating from just a cyclonic circulation to a severe cyclonic storm in just 48 hours, defying earlier predictions. Atmospheric conditions and cloud mass indicate that the system is likely to sustain the strength of a very severe cyclone till June 12, they said.
Climate change intensifying storms
Cyclonic storms in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea have been intensifying rapidly and retaining their intensity for a longer duration because of climate change, according to scientists.
“The oceans have become warmer already on account of climate change. A recent study shows that the Arabian Sea has warmed up by almost 1.2 degree Celsius since March. Thus, conditions are favourable for the rapid intensification of the system (Cyclone Biparjoy). So it has the potential to sustain the strength for a long period,” said Raghu Murtugudde, professor, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, University of Maryland and IIT Bombay.
Navi Mumbai News: NMMC Seizes 450 Kg Of Banned Plastic, Collects ₹ 2.5 Lakh In Fines
In order to make Navi Mumbai plastic-free, apart from creating public awareness among the citizens that single-use plastic should not be used, the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) is taking action if single-use plastic use is found. The municipal commissioner Rajesh Narvekar is keeping a close eye on stopping the use of single plastic which is an important factor in city cleanliness and it is being reviewed regularly in department head meetings.
Nearly 500kg of banned plastic seized
In the month of May 2023, a penalty amount of 2.50 lakh was recovered from 50 people and shopkeepers. The civic body also seized 450 kg of banned plastic from respective wards.
Keeping in mind the damage caused by plastic to the environment, the citizens should stop the use of single plastic completely and also show awareness about the environment by using cloth bags instead of plastic bags, Municipal Commissioner Shri. Rajesh Narvekar.
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