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Idukki Landslide In Kerala Amidst Pandemic And Heavy Rains

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Idukki Landslide In Kerala Amidst Pandemic And Heavy Rains

The Idukki, Rajamala landslide amid the spike in the number of coronavirus cases and rainfall was altogether a bad news for Kerala. The unfortunate event took place on August 6, 10:45 pm, in a small village of Pettimudi, in the Rajamala ward in Munnar of Idukki district.

Rajamala includes Eravikulam National Park, and a shola forest region triggered the landslide in the national park. Rocks, slurry and sludge crashed down a distance of around 1½ km to a patch of valley in Pettimudi, crushing the single-room houses of estate workers that stood in two rows, face to face.

Given below is a video retweet by PIB Kerala, showing the rescue operation in the Rajamal area in the Idukki district.

Outcome

According to officials, Pettimudi, occupied by 83 estate workers of the Kanan Devan Hills Plantation Company Private Limited, who lived in 30 single-roomed houses provided by the estate, were destroyed, thus rendering them helpless and homeless.

Last week, the district Information Office said two National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), police officers, a full unit of Idukki fire and rescue team, a team each from Kottayam, Thiruvananthapuram, along with a team which received special training are leading the rescue operations in Idukki’s Rajamala.

As per the latest reports on Sunday, the death count rose to 58, with only a handful of rescued victims. According to the district information office, the search operation is underway to find the remaining 12 persons who went missing after the landslide. Very few residents, who were away at the time, managed to escape. The officials have told that 57 other families will be relocated to a much safer area.

How did it happen?

According to the Kerala Geology Department, the geographical point which initiated the landslide has a 40° slope. Any slope which is above 20° is prone to slipping during a heavy rainfall;

  1. As per the analysis, conducted by the State Disaster Management Authority, on landslides, heavy rainfall soaks the soil on the slopes. The land with ‘higher clay content’ is capable of retaining water but not draining the excess water, eventually leading to high water pressure in the slopes;
  2. Heavy loading in the hills caused by buildings on the ‘cut and fill’ ground, without any necessary protective measures, makes the location prone to landslides.
  3. Another notable factor is that the frequent landslides, caused the course of rivers to changed, and river channels have been blocked.
Idukki Landslide In Kerala Amidst Pandemic And Heavy Rains

Rescue operation being carried out in Idukki, Rajamala, where the deadly landslide occurred. (Image Source: Twitter @PIBTvmp)

As per a news report by The Indian Express: “a cloudburst on the night of August 6 could have set off the deadly landslide in Pettimudi, Idukki which claimed nearly 70 lives of tea plantation workers and their families, said a top official.” The report further quoted that rainfall statistics put out by Pradeep John, a famous weather blogger from Tamil Nadu, the Pettimudi station, received 1842.7 mm (184 cms) rainfall from August 2-7, the highest rainfall in that period in Idukki district.

Cloudburst is a natural phenomenon wherein an extreme rainfall in a short period to a small geographical area.

New COVID-19 cases at rescue site

On August 12, an NDRF team member and a media person were tested positive. However, the source of infection could not be traced; as a result, 26 media persons involved in the story were sent into quarantine.

Extension of support and relief

On August 7, Kerala’s CM had announced financial assistance of Rs. 5 lakhs to the family of the victims.

The Chief Minister of the state, Pinarayi Vijayan, and Governor, Arif Mohammed Khan visited Pettimudi on August 13. They reviewed the situation by speaking with the survivors and looking into possible improvement measures for the region.

The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expressed his condolences over the landslide-caused deaths and extended his helping hand by agreeing to give Rs. 2 lakhs to the victims’ family from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF).

Kerala had been experiencing heavy rainfall in the previous week, which led to floods in other parts of the state. Through his tweet, Kerala CM asked people to be prepared and avoid panics to avoid future happenings.

The Southern state of India has been a victim of various unusual heavy rain-induced catastrophe since the past few years. In 2018 a sever flood affected the Kerala, taking the life of 683 people and another 140 missing. Similarly, in 2019 around 121 deaths were reported after the state faced the wrath of monsoon.

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Nine-Year-Old Girl Raped And Murdered In Nangal; Family Asks For Capital Punishment

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Nangal Rape Case II News Aur Chai

The nine-year-old girl was cremated on Aug.1, 2021, without seeking her parents’ permission. The parent’s suspects’ it was rape as her mother was kept away while the priest performed the cremation. The Chief of Bhim Army, Chandrasekhar Azad, has reached their parents and offered legal and financial help.

The villagers have been protesting against the incident and blocked the Containment Roads’ towards the Janakpuri. They are demanding the accused to be hanged to death. The Senior police officer, Joint Commissioner Jaspal Singh, and DCP Ingit Pratap Singh visited the protesting site. They assured the villagers’ justice for the girl and her family. 

While speaking with villagers, Singh said, “All the four accused Radhey Shyam (55), the priest, Kuldeep Kumar (63), Laxmi Narain (48) and Mohammad Salim (49) are in prison. Also, A medical team of 3 members have been set up to carry out of the Autopsy of remaining’s of the girl. And an ACP ranked Officer will investigate the case”. He also requested villagers to give written grievances to Police officers.

The victim’s mother doubts that her daughter had been raped, and thus she was cremated without their permission. The rape charges were not added in the case in the Initial stage. But the rape charges were added after the SC/ST committee visited and spoke with the parents, the Officer leading the case. The Victim identity is kept hidden as per the guidelines of the supreme court and to give privacy to family and avoid media trials. 

“As per current details found by CCTV footage, the girl was seen entering the cremation location around 5 PM and the accused went looking for mother around 6 PM. The properties from the locations are taken for forensic tests and autopsy reports are in process,”. Said the officer-in-charge.

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Flood Wreaked Havoc On Madhya Pradesh.

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Madhya Pradesh Flood II News Aur Chai

Many districts in Madhya Pradesh were hit by heavy flooding on August 3, 2021, due to an unparalleled 800mm rainfall in the past 24 hours. One thousand seven hundred and seventy-one villages are affected due to heavy floods. 

Heavy flooding in Sheopur, Madhya Pradesh, has affected more than a lack of people who have been stuck in the local river. There was a complete power cut, and the mobile network had been cut off since August 2, 2021. The everyday life of people living in the Niwadi and Tikamgarh districts has stopped due to heavy rainfall. The severe rain has been in Guna, Shivpuri, Sheopur, Morena, Datia, Gwalior and Chambal regions. The rivers like Chambal, Kwari, Sindh, Kuno, and Seep have overflowed above the danger mark. The bridge collapsed on river Sindh, near Ratanpur village as the water released from Harsi and Manikheda dams. Double-storey buildings of some areas submerged. 

According to locals, the mobile phones of all the authorities, newspaper offices and local TV channels had ceased. There was a power cut in the city. Rail services in the areas like Shivpuri and Gwalior are affected too. A 50-year-old Nurse, identified as Sumanlata Joshi, was electrocuted in Shivpuri town as an electric current ran into her flooded house in the Kamlaganj area. 

As per officials, three advanced light helicopters and a Russian-made Mi-17 chopper have been sent for rescue operations from the Indian Air Force station. Seven teams of the SDRF are posted in the Shivpuri district for rescue operations. The SDRF has deployed five and two of its units in the communities like Sheopur and Datia. One thousand six hundred people were saved by NDRF and SDRF teams, yet 200 villages are still stuck in the flooded areas.

The chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, said the speed of rain has reduced and there will be no terrible rains. They are trying to provide relief and evacuate the people in the affected areas as soon as possible.

The chief minister chaired an emergency meeting in Bhopal on the flood situation of the Gwalior-Chambal region. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan tweeted about Prime Minister Narendra Modi, assuring that the Centre will be providing all the help to Madhya Pradesh. The Chief Minister also said that he is very grateful to the Prime Minister for all the cooperation.

The Chief Minister said he held a meeting where he discussed the flood situation in Madhya Pradesh with the prime minister. The Chief Minister, too, discussed help from the Indian Army in the flood-hit areas. Also, they are informing Prime Minister Modi about the rescue operation in those areas. Mr Chouhan said they had shifted four troops of the Army in most flood-affected areas to evacuate more flood-affected people. The SDRF team is handling the situation very well. Ministers are monitoring the status of the problem. 

Union Minister Amit Shah Tweeted discussed the situation of Madhya Pradesh with CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan. The central government will provide all the help to the state. In this challenging situation, their government is standing with the people of the state.

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Dhanbad Judge Death, Spurs Concern About Threats Faced By Members Of Judiciary

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Uttam Anand Dhanbad Judge II News Aur Chai

On July 28, 2021, Dhanbad Additional Sessions Judge Uttam Anand died preceding an alleged hit and run accident. The incident took place near his house when Mr Anand was out for his morning walk, and an auto-rickshaw hit him from behind, following which it drove away. Mr Anand was hospitalized by a passer-by, where he succumbed to his injuries. 

The accident is suspecting to be a case of hit and run until the CCTV footage of the accident was recovered, leading to a murder investigation. The video footage shows that the three-wheeler swerved in the Judge’s direction and drove away after knocking him down. A Special Investigations Team [SIT] is formed by the Jharkhand Chief Minister, Hemant Soren, to investigate the death of the Additional Session District judge. 

On July 31, 2021, Jharkhand’s Chief Minister Hemant Soren even took to Twitter to announce his decision to order a CBI probe into the matter. 

An officer-in-charge of Jharkhand’s Pathardih Police Station, Umesh Manjhi, is also suspended for not registering the concerned FIR on time. Sanjeev Kumar, Dhanbad SSP, has confirmed the same. The alleged murder of the Judge is a massive concern over the threats faced by the members of the Judiciary, especially by the trial judges across the country. 

The Supreme Court has taken up a Suo moto cognizance of Mr Anand’s demise, titled ‘In Re: Safeguarding courts and protecting [death of Additional Session Judge, Dhanbad]. Also, the bench led by the Chief Justice of India has expressed its concern over the stressful working conditions and threats amidst which the trial judges have to function.

“The Dhanbad case has wider ramifications. We are getting reports that judicial officers are under attack across the country. We want to examine this issue and may seek reports from the state.” Said the Chief Justice of India. 

The Jharkhand Government and the Director-General of Police are asked to submit the required documents and affidavits by the Supreme Court within the week. Also, the Supreme Court has declared the Suo moto would not interfere or hamper with the probe issued by the Jharkhand High Court into the Judge’s death. 

According to a source in Special Investigations Team [SIT], the three-wheeler drivers were under the influence of a sedative, Nitrosun 10 — a drug prescribed for patients suffering from anxiety disorders and illicit alcohol. 

As per police sources, four men were arrested, including the vehicle driver, the shopkeeper who sold them the drug, and the vehicle owner.

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