On July 22, 2016, AN-32 transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF), carrying 29 personnel including eight employees from Naval Armament Deport (NAD) based in Vizag went missing over the Bay of Bengal after it took off from Chennai. The plane was on the way to Port Blair to rectify a defect in the CRN-91 weapon system mounted on INS Batti Malv, a vessel of Bangaram-class.
Despite the search operations with 18 aircraft and 17 ships carried out by Indian Navy for almost a month, there are no leads to the whereabouts of the crew.
The disappearance of the plane has prompted many questions by the concerned family members.
It has been four months since this incident, but the families are yet to find closure with the details. The authorities have declared the missing persons dead, but there has been no announcement about any financial aid, compensation or employment to the bereaved family members.
Purna Chandra Senapati, Chinna Rao, Charan Maharana, G Srinivasa Rao, B Samba Murthy, Bhupendra Singh, P Nagendra Rao, R V Prasad Baby were the eight NAD employees boarded on the aircraft.
Eshwari and Vedanchi, wife and daughter of G Srinivasa Rao have been awaiting his return for the past four months. His wife Eashwari is in the advanced stages of her second pregnancy and lives with her parents. Vedanchi asks for her father and is looking forward to taking long evening walks with him.
Eshwari keeps herself glued to news channels with the hope that her husband is still alive and that one day she will hear news of his return. The family is already battling financial crisis and this uncertainty about Srinivas is causing further emotional and mental agony.
Rama’s story is also similar. Rama, married to B Sambamurthy has been waiting for her husband since July. She has two young children studying in primary school. The NAD has stopped paying the salary, and the family has no other means for financial support.
The wives and families of all the NAD employees are nursing the hope that their husbands, fathers, sons will be back soon.
Many of the members have refused to believe that the plane vanished as there is no indication of any debris. They are finding it hard to believe that an aircraft just disappeared without a trace. Some families have not signed on the NOC, but some of them have been forced to sign on the dotted line due to economic compulsion. They are hopeful that the benefits will be cleared soon, and jobs will be provided to them, but they have not received anything in writing yet.
The parents of the employees have also refused to sign on ‘presumed dead’ declaration form hoping that their sons have survived the accident and have been injured, but not dead. Read more at The Hindu
Have you ever spotted a speeding car without a care for the traffic signal? Ever spotted a person rushing to the other side of the road when the traffic light is green? Ever seen bikers use pavements as roads to save a few minutes? Ever seen cars change lanes on highways or rush hour traffic on a whim? Well, so have thousands of other Indians.
Road safety in India is a serious concern. For a country that boasts the second largest road network in the world, it is inarguable that we need to pay more attention to our safety on roads – a place where we step out every day, spend a handsome amount of our time.
The government has come up with several regulations on road safety, but is this enough? Not if awareness around the topic is still lacking.
The intention behind the initiative is to bring together lawmakers, local authorities, traffic police and citizens under one umbrella.
The cities will be rated on parameters such as Pedestrian Rights, Road Lighting and Maintenance, Motor Laws and Traffic Control, Emergency Services, Road Cleanliness, Connectivity, Road Transport Infrastructure, Heavy Vehicle Traffic Management, Road Safety, Differently abled friendly, Road Quality and Road Safety For Children.
Here are the ten cities that were chosen for Road Safety Index 2018 and the reasons that make their roads safe or unsafe:
Mumbai has facilities for the differently-abled like reservations in public transports, special train compartments, concessions on fares, etc. The city that never sleeps scored the best when it comes to citizens’ participation in making the city accepting and warm toward the differently-abled. It won the category ‘Differently-Abled Friendly’.
However, there are areas of improvement – illegal hawkers, pavements and footpaths need to be fixed or reconstructed.
Anyone who hails from the capital of West Bengal knows about its recreational parks and brightly lit streets. Its traffic police deserve special mention for redirecting rush traffic every day as Kolkata roads are narrow and many are one-way streets.
During Durga Puja, the city tries to make Pandals differently-abled friendly by installing ramps.
It won the categories – ‘Road Lighting & Maintenance’ and ‘Road Safety For Children’.
But the City of Joy needs to work more on giving its residents #HappyRoads. Issues of waterlogging and numerous street hawkers, roadside vendors in busy areas need to be solved.
There’s no one who’s been to Delhi and not praised its excellent connectivity. Delhi prides itself for broad roads, top-notch metros, pavements and foot over bridges. The national capital surely serves as an example for cities across India when it comes to road connectivity hence, it won the categories ‘Connectivity’ and ‘Road Quality’ in the Road Safety Index.
While Delhi has made many of its public places differently-abled friendly, the areas that need improvement are long hours in traffic, fixing of roads that pose a hindrance to daily commute and rash driving by bikers.
The city boasts well-marked zebra crossings, adequate footpaths for pedestrians, underground SMART dustbins, reduced encroachments. Raipur fares well in almost all parameters of road safety. It won the category of ‘Road Safety’ and ‘Pedestrian Rights’.
However, the city could do better with stricter fines for traffic violators and awareness about road safety and garbage disposal.
Other cities can take inspiration from Chennai on how to ensure good road safety. The city has wide, well-connected roads that are lit properly. It also boasts rigorous night patrolling where traffic rules violators are fined. One of the best initiatives taken by Chennai is the separate parking space on city roads that prevent traffic from accumulating. It came out on top in the category ‘Motor Laws & Traffic Control’.
Areas where Chennai needs to improve are street lighting and cleanliness.
Indore is one of the few cities that has used plastic waste for construction of roads and covered garbage disposals, which explains why the city won the ‘Road Cleanliness’ category. Indore also has adequate zebra crossings, visual signals, street lights, footpaths.
But areas where the city needs improvement are – strict action against traffic violators, public spaces more differently-abled friendly.
There is a lot to learn from the road safety measures implemented by Ahmedabad – sound medical facilities, separate lanes for local buses, special cab service for differently-abled, wide roads. Ahmedabad won in the category ‘Emergency Services’, ‘Road Transport Infrastructure’ and ‘Heavy Vehicle Traffic Management’.
If the Heritage City improves road safety awareness among citizens, it’s bound to fare even better. Better street lighting and lesser encroachments will work in favour of Ahmedabad.
The other cities shortlisted were Pune, Bangalore and Hyderabad but they didn’t win any category.
Maruti Suzuki’s initiative to rank cities will encourage citizens and administration to do better and emerge on top.
The Logical Indian community wholeheartedly appreciates the various initiatives undertaken by Maruti-Suzuki in this direction. Not only the government but we, as citizens of this country, should also pledge to make our roads safe. One of the first steps towards this is that we understand our duties.
We hope the authorities take a note while we pledge to do our own bit towards happier, safer Indian roads.
For more information about the Maruti Suzuki’s initiative and the Road Safety Indexclick here.