Times of India | 10 months ago | 05-08-2022 | 08:38 am
MUMBAI: The BEST got its second woman bus driver, Bano Abdul Sattar, on Thursday. The undertaking had recently announced its first woman driver, Laxmi Jadhav, who along with Sattar will ply buses on routes between Colaba and Bandra, officials said. "We are proud of empowering women and giving them the role of a bus driver, an area which was until now dominated by men," said BEST general manager Lokesh Chandra. He felicitated the new woman driver on Thursday and said he expected more women to join as drivers in near future. The BEST already has 90 women conductors, most of whom are deployed on women-only buses. The BEST runs a total 70 routes for ladies special buses daily with 136 buses, and they run packed during morning and evening peak hours. Besides, there are 44 routes on which BEST allows women to board the buses on priority. tnn
In the next 36 hours, the very severe cyclonic storm Biparjoy is set to intensify and will be heading north-northwestwards in the next two days, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted.As per the weather agency, the cyclone over the east-central Arabian Sea was located 840 kilometers west-southwest of Goa and 870 km west-southwest of Mumbai at 11:30 pm on June 8.“Very severe cyclonic storm Biparjoy over east-central Arabian Sea at 2330 hours IST of 08th June, 2023 over about 840 km west-southwest of Goa, 870 km west-southwest of Mumbai. To intensify further gradually during next 36 hours and move nearly north-northwestwards in next 2 days,” IMD said in a tweet.The IMD has advised fishermen not to venture into cyclone-hit areas in the Arabian Sea.Meanwhile, coastal districts of Gujarat are gearing up for the likely impact of cyclone Biparjoy brewing in the east-central Arabian Sea. The administration has readied cyclone shelters and drawn plans to evacuate people from vulnerable areas and activate control rooms at the block levels.Collectors of coastal districts, including Kutch, Jamnagar, Dwarka, and Porbandar, held meetings with officers of the respective district administrations to prepare for the likely impact of Biparjoy.Moreover, in Maharashtra, the progress of the southwest monsoon that brings rain across the Indian sub-continent is being monitored after it arrived in Kerala on Thursday, seven days later than the normal arrival date, an India Meteorological Department official said.The normal date for onset of monsoon in Maharashtra is June 10 and in Mumbai is June 11, said S G Kamble, the Mumbai head of IMD Regional Meteorological Centre.Weather forecastConditions are favourable for further advance of the Southwest monsoon into some more parts of the central Arabian Sea, remaining parts of Kerala, some parts of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, IMD predicted.The Southwest monsoon might advance into some more parts of the southwest, Central and northeast Bay of Bengal, and some parts of northeastern states during the next 24 hours, as per the weather department.🌧️ GujaratLight to moderate rain is very likely at isolated places in the South Gujarat region namely Navsari, Valsad, and in Daman, Dadara Nagar Haveli, the IMD said.Further, dry weather is expected in all the districts of Saurashtra-Kutch, and Diu.🌧️ South IndiaLight rainfall with thunderstorms is very likely over Kerala, Lakshadweep, Coastal & South Interior Karnataka whereas isolated to scattered activity is expected over North Interior Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh during the next 5 days, as per IMD.Meanwhile, heavy rainfall is very likely at isolated places over Andaman & Nicobar Islands on June 9 and 10; Kerala from June 9 to 13; Lakshadweep from June 9 to 11; and Coastal & South Interior Karnataka during June 10-13.🌧️ Northeast IndiaScattered to fairly widespread rainfall with thunderstorms very likely over the northeast region during the next 5 days, the weather agency reportedMoreover, very heavy rainfall is likely at isolated places over Manipur, Mizoram, and Tripura on June 9 and Assam and Meghalaya on June 12 and 13; isolated heavy rainfall over Arunachal Pradesh and Assam and Meghalaya and Manipur & Mizoram during June 09-13.Northwest IndiaAccording to IMD, a rise in maximum temperatures by about 2°C is very likely over the plains of NorthwestIndia (except Rajasthan) during the next two days. (With ANI inputs)
Mumbai Murder Case: Manoj Sane is accused of murdering Saraswati Vaidya.Mumbai: A 56-year-old man has been arrested in Maharashtra's Thane for allegedly murdering his live-in partner, chopping and boiling her body parts. The body of Saraswati Vaidya, who was an orphan, was found scattered in her seventh-floor apartment at Mira Road on Wednesday evening. Some parts were found in buckets, some were boiled in a cooker.Officials said a few of her body parts were crushed in a mixer and boiled in a pressure cooker, in what appeared to be a re-run of the Shraddha Walkar case.NDTV visited the orphanage where the victim, Saraswati Vaidya, grew up. A worker at the Jankibai Apte Balikashram in Ahmednagar says that Saraswati had told them that she was living with her uncle."She told us that her uncle stays in Mumbai, and I stay with him. She told us that the man is a clothes merchant and is extremely rich," Anu Salve tells NDTV.She added that Saraswati had last visited the orphanage two years ago and seemed extremely unhappy during that visit.Manoj Sane was not married. He has a house in Mumbai's Borivali, where some of his family members live, but he had been staying apart from his family. He used to work at a grocery store in Borivali. The victim often visited the shop where Sane worked, police said.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comTheir friendship grew in 2014 and they started living together from 2016. They moved to the Mira Road flat three years ago.Manoj Sane was caught after a neighbour noticed a foul smell wafting from the couple's flat and alerted the authorities.
The Mumbai police have arrested an auto-rickshaw driver for allegedly robbing, injuring, and sodomising a passenger with whom he had a disagreement over fare over the weekend. The police said they are awaiting medical reports to confirm if the passenger, 28, had been sodomised.The driver is currently in police custody. An officer said the incident took place on Saturday night.According to the police, the complainant was under the influence of alcohol and asked the driver to stop at a couple of ATMs to withdraw money. Eventually, when they reached his Ghatkopar residence, the men got into an argument over the fare.As per the complaint lodged by the passenger, the auto-rickshaw driver hit him on the head with a paver block and snatched his mobile phone and wallet. He said the driver then pushed him into a garden nearby where he sexually assaulted him and fled.The officer said the passenger was initially hesitant to lodge a complaint with the police. However, a day later, he approached the Ghatkopar police and an FIR was registered based on his complaint. An officer said the complainant had injury marks on his forehead.The police then scanned CCTV cameras and tracked down the accused auto-rickshaw driver from his Ghatkopar residence and placed him under arrest. They also recovered the mobile phone and wallet of the complainant from the driver’s residence.The accused was produced before a court Monday and remanded to police custody.
Air India will send a replacement aircraft, which is scheduled to depart from Mumbai at 1 pm Wednesday, to Russia’s Magadan, where 216 passengers and 16 crew are stranded since Tuesday. Their flight AI-173 from Delhi to San Francisco had developed a technical issue with one of its engines and was diverted to the remote Russian town.“A ferry flight is scheduled to operate to GDX (Magadan) from Mumbai, India (BOM) at 1300 Hours IST on 07 June 2023, subject to necessary regulatory clearances, which would take passengers and crew of AI173 onward to San Francisco. The ferry flight would be carrying food and other essentials for our passengers,” Air India said in a statement.The Tata Group airline also confirmed that all passengers were being housed in makeshift accommodation in Magadan “after making sincere attempts to accommodate passengers in hotels locally with the help of local government authorities” given the infrastructural limitations around the remote airport.This came after videos appeared on social media showing the stranded passengers put up in makeshift accommodation in what appears to be a local school.“As we do not have any Air India staff based in the remote town of Magadan or in Russia, all ground support being provided to the passengers is the best possible in this unusual circumstance through our round-the-clock liaison with the Consulate General of India in Vladivostok, Ministry of External Affairs (Government of India), local ground handlers, and the Russian authorities,” the airline said.Sources in the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) said Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia is closely monitoring the situation and MoCA is in touch with Air India, which has informed that it is taking care of passengers.The United States has said it is also closely watching the situation, considering its strained relationship with Russia and the possibility of US citizens being among the stranded passengers.“So, we are aware of a US-bound flight that had to make an emergency landing in Russia and are continuing to monitor that situation closely. I’m not able to confirm how many US citizens were aboard the flight at this time… it was a flight that was bound for the United States. So, it is, of course, likely that there are American citizens on board,” US State Department’s Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel told journalists in Washington.“As you probably also saw, there’s public reporting from Air India that they are sending a, what my understanding is, a replacement aircraft to the destination to have the passengers carry on for their route, but I would defer to the air carrier to speak to anything further on this,” Patel added.
Airfares in India are soaring. While they had started firming up last year itself as travel demand rebounded after the Covid pandemic subsided, this year’s summer travel season has seen an unusually high spike in ticket prices. Go First’s bankruptcy plea and subsequent suspension of its flights joined other factors such as surging demand and capacity constraints, among others, in forcing flyers to pay through their noses bang in the middle of the country’s peak summer travel season.Social media platforms are replete with consumers complaining about surge pricing. The government, too, has taken note of “abnormal surge pricing on certain routes” and asked airlines to “self-monitor” and devise a mechanism to ensure reasonable pricing on such routes.Any respite in the near term, however, is likely only if and when the tidal wave of travel demand ebbs, which is likely only once this year’s peak summer travel season is behind us. Longer-term price stability and affordability will depend on various other factors too, including travel demand trajectory, the pace of capacity addition by airlines, and jet fuel prices and other cost centres.A perfect storm: High demand, capacity constraints, Go First bankruptcyOn May 2, Go First announced that it was voluntarily filing for insolvency and the airline has not operated even a single flight since May 3. In April, the Wadia group airline had ferried close to 8.3 lakh flyers and held a domestic market share of over 6 per cent. The sudden disappearance of Go First’s capacity from the market was the last thing consumers needed. Market leader IndiGo and SpiceJet were already affected by capacity constraints as parts of their fleet were grounded due to different reasons.On the other hand, demand surged, notwithstanding high airfares. As per preliminary industry data, May saw over 1.3 crore domestic flyers, up from March and April, and likely higher than or at least comparable with the pre-pandemic peaks. For some time now, industry insiders have been highlighting that flyers seem to be willing to shell out more on travel after the pandemic. The pent-up demand from the pandemic, which scuttled travel plans of many people for up to two years, just does not seem to be abating.“Despite an increase in airfares by about 35-40 per cent for domestic routes compared to the previous year, our customers are displaying an increased appetite for travel spending. The surge in domestic airfares for favourite tourism routes are resulting in international short hauls becoming an attractive option in comparison,” said Indiver Rastogi, President & Group Head of Global Business Travel at Thomas Cook (India) and SOTC Travel.Even as other carriers did depute additional capacities on routes where Go First was a sizable player, the demand-supply mismatch could not be fully mitigated.Although airfares generally have been higher in recent weeks, it is worth noting that abnormal surges have been witnessed mostly on routes with a strong Go First presence and some others seeing rapid growth in demand. Also, surges are mostly seen in cases where flights are being booked closer to the date of travel.Go First’s absence has rewarded other airlines in the form of higher load factors. But very high load factors are a problem for flyers, particularly those who book their tickets last minute or very close to the date of travel, as very limited available inventory means they are likely to be offered seats in the top fare buckets.Most-affected routesAccording to industry insiders, routes affected the most are the ones connecting major cities with airports like Leh, Srinagar, Goa, Bagdogra, Ahmedabad, and Pune, and other popular travel destinations like Andamans and Kerala.“Despite the current situation with capacity constraints driving airfares, Indian travellers are making the most of the summer vacation period. We are witnessing brisk demand of over 3x compared to last year. Airfares for popular leisure sectors from Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru have witnessed a surge versus last month–Leh 60-80%, Srinagar, Chandigarh, and Port Blair 50-70 per cent, and Kochi and Goa 40 per cent,” Rastogi said.According to Sabina Chopra, Chief Operating Officer for Corporate Travel and Head of Industry Relations at Yatra.com, the travel booking website is seeing 20-25 per cent higher demand in the domestic travel sector compared to pre-pandemic levels. As compared to the summer travel season last year, Yatra.com has observed an increase of 15-20 per cent in domestic airfares.With regard to routes affected the most by the suspension of Go First flights, Chopra said, “According to our data, the most popular routes were Srinagar, Ladakh, Delhi-Mumbai, Mumbai-Bangalore, and Bangalore-Chennai. These routes had consistently witnessed high demand and had played a pivotal role for the airline.”Higher fuel cost vis-à-vis pre-pandemic periodThe cost of aviation turbine fuel (ATF), or jet fuel, might not be playing a role in month-on-month or even year-on-year rise in airfares to current levels, but it is a significant factor in how fares have moved between the pre-pandemic period and the present. ATF is the single-biggest cost for airlines and for Indian carriers, it accounts for over 40 per cent of their operational expenses.While the price of jet fuel has cooled off from year-ago levels and is also lower than in preceding months, it is significantly higher than the levels seen in 2019 and early 2020, just before the pandemic brought the aviation industry to its knees. As per data provided by the country’s largest fuel retailer Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), jet fuel is currently priced at Rs 89,303.09 per kilolitre, down from Rs 95,935.34 in May and significantly lower than the peak of Rs 1.41 lakh in the second half of June 2022. However, when compared to March 2020 and June 2019, jet fuel prices are currently higher by 57 per cent and 37.4 per cent, respectively.“Due to the escalating fuel costs, airfares have seen a significant rise of 30-40 per cent across all domestic routes (compared to pre-pandemic levels),” Chopra said.