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India’s Kochi city covered in toxic haze from waste dump fire

The fire, which began last week, has resulted in a toxic smoke cover over several areas of the city

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India's Kochi city covered in toxic haze from waste dump fire
Photo:- @Sridhar67/TWT

Kerala: Indian firefighters are currently tackling a major fire at a waste management plant in Kochi city, Kerala state. The fire, which began last week, has resulted in a toxic smoke cover over several areas of the city, leading local authorities to advise residents to remain indoors and use N-95 masks if they venture out. Younger children have been told to stay home as schools have been shut down. Despite an update on Sunday from the state government that the fire was under control and would soon be extinguished, the firefighters are still struggling to contain the blaze.

Fires are a regular occurrence at large landfills in various parts of India, typically caused by methane generated from waste decomposition. The Brahmapuram waste plant, situated near Kochi city’s edge, is notorious for its massive piles of waste, and the facility is run by Kochi’s city authorities. Plastic burning at the plant has been a contentious issue for local residents, and many have protested against the fires’ health hazards in the past.

It is still unclear what caused the latest fire, but according to a firefighter who spoke to the Press Trust of India, layers of plastic underneath the waste piles heated up, making it challenging to put out the fire. The toxic smoke generated by the fire has made firefighting efforts even more challenging, causing nausea and dizziness among firefighters. Reportedly, at least 20 officials from the fire department have developed breathing problems due to the exposure to the hazardous smoke.

Kerala’s health minister, Veena George, has urged the elderly, children, pregnant women, and those with respiratory problems to avoid exposure to the smoke. Ms. George has also announced that all of the city’s hospitals have been equipped to treat patients with respiratory diseases. Although no major health issues have been reported thus far, the state’s pollution control board has issued a notice to local authorities to pay a penalty of 18 million rupees ($220,000; £182,798) for violating waste management rules. Meanwhile, the city police have launched an investigation into the fire, and it is hoped that firefighters will soon be able to extinguish it entirely.

Bengaluru

Tejasvi Surya Faces Backlash at Bengaluru Campaign Event

Tejasvi Surya faces criticism at Bengaluru campaign event as investors demand answers on Guru Raghavendra Co-operative Bank scam.

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Tejasvi Surya Faces Backlash at Bengaluru Campaign Event
(Image: timesnownews)

Bengaluru South MP Tejasvi Surya encountered a turbulent situation during a recent election campaign event in the city. The event, held at the Laxmanrao Imandar auditorium, took an unexpected turn when investors who had suffered losses in the multi-crore scam involving the Guru Raghavendra Sahakara Bank Niyamitha demanded accountability from the parliamentarian.

The investors, visibly frustrated by the delay in compensation for their losses, sought answers from Surya and other leaders present, including Basavanagudi BJP legislator L A Ravi Subramanya. Despite attempts by the leaders to assuage their concerns, the investors remained dissatisfied with the responses provided.

Footage from the event circulated on social media platforms, capturing the moment when Surya was escorted out of the venue by his security personnel. During his exit, he engaged in heated exchanges with some of the investors who approached him with their grievances.

The incident drew attention from various political quarters, with Karnataka Congress seizing the opportunity to criticize Surya’s handling of the situation. The party took to Twitter to highlight the MP’s departure from the event, characterizing it as an escape through an “emergency exit door.”

In response, Surya’s office released a statement accusing Congress workers of disrupting the meeting and attempting to derail the BJP’s campaign efforts. The statement condemned the alleged tactics employed by Congress workers, including pushing and shoving attendees, and emphasized the BJP’s commitment to a positive and development-oriented campaign.

The controversy surrounding the campaign event underscores the ongoing fallout from the Guru Raghavendra Co-operative Bank scam, which came to light in 2020. Despite efforts by regulatory authorities and the Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation to mitigate the impact on depositors, many individuals remain uncompensated for their losses.

The Enforcement Directorate’s investigation into the scam revealed instances of fund misappropriation and financial irregularities, leading to the attachment of the bank’s properties worth Rs 159 crore. With over 15,000 depositors yet to receive full compensation, the Karnataka government’s decision to hand over the probe to the CBI reflects the seriousness of the situation.

As the election campaign in Bengaluru South unfolds, the incident involving Tejasvi Surya serves as a reminder of the challenges faced by politicians in addressing the grievances of affected constituents amidst ongoing controversies and political scrutiny.

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Bengaluru

Fatal Bike Accident in Bengaluru: Man Dead, Two Injured in Pit Fall

Tragedy struck in Bengaluru as a bike accident claimed a life and left two critically injured after plunging into a water pipeline pit. Get the details here.

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Fatal Bike Accident in Bengaluru: Man Dead, Two Injured in Pit Fall
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A tragic incident unfolded in Bengaluru, leaving one man dead and two others critically injured after their bike veered off the road and fell into a pit dug up for a water pipeline. The mishap occurred on Sunday, shocking locals and prompting questions about safety measures in construction zones.

According to police reports, the bike’s rider failed to notice the deep pit and drove straight into it. Despite efforts by locals to rush the injured to the hospital, one of the bikers succumbed to his injuries on the spot, while the other two are battling for their lives in critical condition.

Eyewitnesses lamented the lack of barricades or warning signboards near the pit, blaming civic authorities for negligence. A complaint lodged by one of the survivors demands action against the water board contractor responsible for the site.

In response, the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board refuted allegations of lax safety measures, asserting that barricades were indeed in place. However, they claimed that the riders were intoxicated, which led them to overlook the warning signs.

Ram Manohar, Chairman of the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board, emphasized that corrective measures would be taken pending the outcome of the police investigation. He cited reports suggesting that the bikers were performing a wheelie, a risky maneuver where the front wheel is lifted off the ground, contributing to the accident.

Regardless of the circumstances, the incident underscores the importance of safety protocols in construction areas and the need for both authorities and citizens to remain vigilant on the roads. As investigations continue, the hope is that lessons will be learned and actions taken to prevent such tragedies in the future.

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Bengaluru

Kannada Film Producer Soundarya Jagadish Dies in Alleged Suicide Attempt

Kannada film industry mourns as Soundarya Jagadish, a prominent producer and businessman, passes away after an alleged suicide attempt.

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Kannada Film Producer Soundarya Jagadish Dies in Alleged Suicide Attempt
(Photo:etvbharat)

In a shocking turn of events, Kannada film producer and prominent businessman, Soundarya Jagadish, was reported to have died following an alleged suicide attempt at his residence in Mahalakshmi Layout. The incident, which occurred early this morning, has sent shockwaves throughout the Kannada film industry and among his acquaintances.

According to sources close to Jagadish, the producer was found attempting suicide at his residence. Immediate medical assistance was sought, and he was rushed to the hospital. However, despite efforts to save him, Jagadish was declared dead upon arrival.

Speaking to reporters, a friend of Jagadish, Shreyas, confirmed the tragic incident, stating, “Jagadish has died following a suicide attempt. We brought him to the hospital, where he was declared dead. Further procedures are underway to determine the cause of his actions.”

Addressing speculations regarding Jagadish’s financial troubles, Shreyas clarified that recent bank notices served to him were unrelated to the incident. He emphasized that the issue had been ongoing for some time and was separate from the tragic events of the day.

Contrary to initial reports suggesting a cardiac arrest, Shreyas revealed that Jagadish had attempted suicide by hanging. The police were promptly informed, and investigations into the matter are ongoing.

Soundarya Jagadish, known for his contributions to both the film industry and business sector, was also the proprietor of a popular pub in the city. However, recent controversies surrounding the establishment had led to temporary license cancellations due to late-night partying by certain film personalities and crew members.

Throughout his career, Jagadish had produced several successful films, including ‘Snehitaru’, ‘Appu Pappu’, ‘Mast Maja Maadi’, and ‘Ramleela’. His sudden demise has left the Kannada film fraternity and his fans in mourning.

As the investigation unfolds, the Kannada film industry remains in shock over the untimely loss of Soundarya Jagadish, a talented producer and entrepreneur whose contributions will be deeply missed. Stay tuned for further updates on this developing story.

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