Joshimath (Uttarakhand) [India], February 13 (ANI): Director General of Border Roads Organization (BRO), Lieutenant General Rajeev Chaudhry visited the Joshimath sector on Saturday to take stock of the ongoing rescue, relief, and rehabilitation work after Glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF) in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district.
“The GLOF in the Rishiganga river also washed away a 90 metre RCC bridge of BRO on Joshimath – Malari road near Raini Village. This bridge was the only link to Niti border,” read the press release by the Ministry of Defence.
“BRO true to its motto “ShramenaSarvamSadhaym” has quickly swung into action for rescue and rehabilitation work by inducting more than 100 Vehicles / Equipments and plants which include about 15 heavy earth moving equipments like hydraulic excavators, dozers, JCBs, wheel loaders etc,” Director General of BRO said.
“BRO has also air inducted critical equipment with the help of the Indian Air Force (IAF). Almost 20 teams of 21 Border Roads Task Force (BRTF) under Project Shivalik have been deployed for rescue and rehabilitation purposes. After initial recce, BRO started work for re-establishing connectivity on all required fronts,” he said.
“The site was very challenging due to steep cliff on far bank and 25-30 metre high debris/ muck on the other side, however, BRO has overcome these challenges and construction of abutment on the far bank has been completed and work on the home bank is progressing on the war footing, Bailey bridge components are being sourced from various locations,” he added.
While lauding the hard work and sincere efforts being put in by team Shivalik, Chaudhry told that BRO is working round the clock under extreme weather conditions to re-establish connectivity at the earliest by launching a bailey bridge of 200 feet.
He also said that although the primary task of BRO is to ensure that lines of communication are through, BRO has also been playing a pivotal role in search and rescue operations to locate missing persons. Towards this BRO has deployed four heavy-duty machines and has been able to recover some bodies so far from Raini power house location. BRO is working in close coordination with the State Government.
He also thanked the State Government for providing support and assistance to BRO in accomplishing their task. (ANI)
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Need for maintaining caution to overcome pandemic: Home Secretary to states, UTs
New Delhi [India], February 27 (ANI): After extending COVID-19 guidelines till March 31, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla on Friday wrote to all states and Union Territories and said there is a need for maintaining caution and strict surveillance to fully overcome the pandemic.
Urging the officials to ensure the compliance of the guidelines, Bhalla said, “All activities have been permitted, subject to following the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), issued by respective administrative Ministry and Department as well as the SOPs which are to be issued by the States and UTs.”
He further reiterated that there shall be no restriction on inter-State and intra-State movement of persons and goods including those for cross land-border trade under Treaties with neighbouring countries.
“As you are aware, the number of active and new cases in the country has substantially declined over the last few months. However, there is need for maintaining caution and strict surveillance so as to fully overcome the pandemic,” the official added. (ANI)
Jharkhand budget to be presented on March 3
Ranchi (Jharkhand) [India], February 27 (ANI): The Budget session of the Jharkhand assembly started on Friday with an inaugural address by Governor Draupadi Murmu.
The session will continue till March 23 and the budget will be presented on March 3.
The Opposition in the state blamed that the government has made lots of false promises. The ruling party claimed that the budget is progressive and pro-people.
Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren claimed that this budget is realistic and opposition should realise this. (ANI)
Four arrested for killing transgender in Mumbai
Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], February 27 (ANI): Four people have been arrested for the brutal murder of a transgender in Mumbai, Vishal Thakur, Deputy Commissioner of Police Zone-11, informed on Friday.
The transgender was stabbed to death with a sharp-edged weapon in the Goregaon west area on Thursday and a case has been registered at the Bangur Nagar Police Station.
“A transgender person was brutally murdered on February 24 on the side of the road. Police personnel immediately reached the scene and took the body to the hospital. Post mortem revealed that the transgender was stabbed with a hammer or a sharp object,” Thakur told reporters.
“We arrested four persons who later confessed to the crime. It was revealed that they had tried killing the victim three to four times earlier over personal enmity but did not succeed. A case has been registered against them,” he added.
The culprits were arrested from the Palghar district and worked as daily wage labourers, the DCP added. (ANI)
Fire breaks out at factory in Delhi’s Pratap Nagar
New Delhi [India], February 27 (ANI): Fire broke out at a factory in the Pratap Nagar area of Delhi on Saturday morning.
Fire tenders reached the spot and fire fighting operations are underway.
More details are awaited. (ANI)
PM Modi to inaugurate India Toy Fair today
New Delhi [India], February 27 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the India Toy Fair 2021 on Saturday at 11 AM via video conferencing.
“Toys play a significant part in the development of a child’s mind and also help improve psychomotor and cognitive skills in children. In his Mann ki Baat address in August 2020, the Prime Minister had said that toys not only augment activity, but also give flight to aspirations,” read the press release by Prime Minister’s Office.
Noting the importance of toys in the holistic development of a child, the Prime Minister has earlier also emphasized boosting toy manufacturing in India. The India Toy Fair 2021 is being organized in line with this vision of the Prime Minister.
The Fair will be held from February 27 to March 2, 2021. It aims to bring together all stakeholders including buyers, sellers, students, teachers, designers etc. on a virtual platform to create sustainable linkages and encourage dialogue for the overall development of the industry.
Through this platform, the Government and the Industry shall come together to discuss how India can be made the next global hub for manufacturing and sourcing of toys by way of attracting investments in the sector and promoting exports.
Over 1000 exhibitors from across 30 States and Union Territories will display their products in e-commerce enabled virtual exhibition. It will showcase traditional Indian toys as well as modern toys including electronic toys, plush toys, puzzles and games.
The fair will also host numerous webinars and panel discussions with eminent Indian and international speakers with proven capabilities in toy design and manufacturing. For children, it is an opportunity to participate in a plethora of activities, including craft demonstrations on traditional toy-making and virtual visits to toy museums and factories. (ANI)
Implementing one-way customer traffic at retail stores can dramatically reduce COVID transmission: Study
New Delhi [India], February 27 (ANI): Researchers in a study suggests that implementing one-way customer traffic at retail stores can dramatically reduce COVID-19 transmission. The study was conducted by Robert A. Shumsky, Laurens Debo, Rebecca M. Lebeaux, Quang P. Nguyen and Anne G. Hoen.
The study was published by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“To reduce the transmission of COVID-19, many retail stores use one-way aisles, while local governments enforce occupancy limits or require “safe shopping” times for vulnerable groups,” read the study.
To assess the value of these interventions, the study formulates and analyzes a mathematical model of customer flow and COVID-19 transmission. The study finds find that the value of specific operational changes depends on how the virus is transmitted, through close contact or suspended aerosols. If the transmission is primarily due to close contact, then restricting customers to one-way movement can dramatically reduce transmission. Other interventions, such as reductions in customer density, are effective at a distance but confront store operators with trade-offs between infection rates and customer flow.
The study examines how operational changes in customer flows in retail stores affect the rate of COVID-19 transmission. They combine a model of customer movement with two models of disease transmission: direct exposure when two customers are in close proximity and wake exposure when one customer is in the airflow behind another customer.
They find that the effectiveness of some operational interventions is sensitive to the primary mode of transmission. Restricting customer flow to one-way movement is highly effective if direct exposure is the dominant mode of transmission. In particular, the rate of direct transmission under full compliance with one-way movement is less than one-third of the rate under two-way movement.
Directing customers to follow the one-way flow, however, is not effective if wake exposure dominates. The study finds that two other interventions–reducing the speed variance of customers and throughput control–can be effective whether direct or wake transmission is dominant.
The study also examines the trade-off between customer throughput and the risk of infection to customers, and the study shows how the optimal throughput rate drops rapidly as the population prevalence rises.
By integrating knowledge about virology, epidemiology, and the physical flow of customers in retail stores, the study develops and analyze a model that connects the biology of COVID-19 with operational interventions to reduce the spread of the disease. The model calculates the disease transmission rate in a retail environment and determines how the rate depends on the customer flow policy (one-way versus two-way), the travel speed distribution, and store size. The study find that one-way restrictions are useful for reducing direct transmission but have no effect on wake transmission. Eliminating speed variability can reduce or even eliminate direct transmission when traffic is one-way but can only reduce (but not eliminate) transmission in two-way traffic. Finally, the study shows that the optimal admission rate to a store falls as the disease prevalence rises and the ratio of profit to infection cost falls.
The study also calibrates our model using published epidemiological data. For a medium-sized retailer in an area with a relatively high prevalence of COVID-19, our model predicts a total transmission rate (via direct and wake exposure) of 0.33 infections per day. Complete customer compliance with one-way flow reduces the direct transmission rate by 70%, while the partial compliance observed in one store reduces the transmission rate by 11 per cent. The study also compares the impact of direct and wake transmission by first defining a ratio between the wake and direct transmission probabilities for a single encounter between an infectious and a susceptible customer. Given two-way traffic, if this ratio is 200%200% or more, then wake exposure dominates direct exposure in its contribution to virus transmission. When retailers can control customer throughput, the optimal throughput drops significantly as COVID-19 prevalence increases up to 1%. Because estimates of some parameters vary substantially from region to region and will change over time, the study conduct sensitivity analysis to assess the robustness of our findings.
The study discusses some of our modeling assumptions and possible extensions. In the model of customer flow, the study ignores variation in both the speed and path of each customer, e.g., stopping to examine and pick products off shelves. Adding this additional variability would increase the number of customer interactions and direct exposure, although quantifying its impact and understanding the impact on wake exposure would require a more complex analytical model and/or simulation. The study also assumes Poisson arrivals, a reasonable assumption during short periods in many retail areas, but not a reasonable assumption in other contexts such as school hallways, where a fluid model may be more appropriate.
In addition, the study assumes that wake exposure ends as soon as an infectious customer leaves the area. This is a simplification, for infectious aerosols may remain in the air after customers depart (20). If the area is large, however, and if customers spend a significant amount of time on their journey, then the impact of edge effects when customers leave the area is small. For the numerical experiments described above, these edge effects are not significant.
Our model focuses on customer movement through store aisles and ignores interactions among customers and employees. Front-line workers for essential retailers, in particular, can face a high risk of exposure (47). Cashiers, for example, face both direct and wake exposure in checkout areas. Many stores now enforce social distancing standards around these areas and provide guidance such as floor stickers to indicate spacing between customers. While this can nearly eliminate direct exposure, wake exposure would be a concern around checkout areas. Incorporating a queuing model that includes customer movement and airflow may be a useful extension.
The specific infection rates predicted by our model depend upon many environmental variables, including ventilation systems and the proportion of customers who use masks. Given this uncertainty, the model highlights where gaps in the scientific knowledge of COVID-19 transmission need to be filled so that the study may redesign service operations to reduce spread. In particular, the effectiveness of these interventions is highly dependent on whether the virus is transmitted through heavy droplets or aerosols. In addition, the model may be adapted to analyze COVID-19 transmission in other service settings such as restaurants, airplanes (supplement to ref. 48), and hotels in which customer flow can be regulated. (ANI)
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