Hello, this is your daily dose of news from Onmanorama. I'm your host, Vishnu, and these are the major news stories of the day:
1. 4 Indians among 22 onboard domestic aircraft that crashed in Nepal
2. Monsoon arrives in Kerala three days ahead of normal onset date
3. Double track on Kottayam rail route gets ready
4. Report confirming leakage of actress assault visuals came to investigators' hand late
5. National Family Health Survey finds zero foeticide cases and negligible stillbirths in Kerala
Let's get into the details:
1. Four members of a family from Mumbai were among the 22 people on board a small plane of a local airlines that crashed on Sunday in the mountainous region of Nepal minutes after taking off from the tourist city of Pokhara, officials said.
A spokesperson of the Nepal Army, Narayan Silwal, said the aircraft crashed at the mouth of the Lamche river under the landslide of Manapathi Himal. This, he said was according to information shared by locals with the Nepal Army. “The Nepal Army is moving towards the site from the ground and air route,” Silwal was quoted as saying by ANI.
The Twin Otter 9N-AET plane belonging to Nepal's Tara Air took off at 10:15 am from Pokhara, and lost contact with the control tower 15 minutes later, according to an airline spokesperson.
There were four Indian nationals, two Germans and 13 Nepali passengers besides a three-member Nepali crew, said Sudarshan Bartaula, a spokesperson at the airlines.
The Indian Embassy in Nepal had tweeted that a search and rescue operation was on and that the embassy was in touch with the passengers' family.
The airline had issued the list of passengers which identified four Indians as Ashok Kumar Tripathi, Dhanush Tripathi, Ritika Tripathi, and Vaibhawi Tripathi.
The aircraft was scheduled to land at Jomsom Airport in the Western mountainous region at 10:15 am.
The aircraft crashed in the Dhaulagiri area. A helicopter that flew from Pokhara in search of the missing aircraft had returned without any success due to bad weather earlier in the day.
Tara Air is the newest and biggest airline service provider in the Nepalese mountains, according to the airline website. It started business in 2009 with the mission of helping develop rural Nepal.
2. The Southwest Monsoon has set in over Kerala on Sunday, three days ahead of its usual date of June 1, marking the start of the four-month rainy season that is crucial for India's farm-based economy. Kerala has been receiving rainfall since Saturday and 10 out of the 14 weather monitoring stations in the state have received more than 2.5 mm rains, thus fulfilling the criteria for the onset of monsoon, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) stated.
However, while the monsoon has advanced over Kerala and parts of Tamil Nadu, the Bay of Bengal arm of the weather system was sluggish as it continued to linger just above the Andaman islands.
The Extended Range Forecast issued by the IMD has suggested that the progress of the monsoon over Karnataka, Goa and entire north-east India could be slow.
Earlier, the IMD had forecast onset over Kerala on May 27 with help from the remnants of Cyclone Asani, which struck the Bay of Bengal a fortnight ago. However, the influence of the remnant weather systems, that lingered over the southern peninsula, petered out, dashing the forecast of an early onset over Kerala and swift progress towards the north.
All conditions for the onset of monsoon over Kerala have been satisfied on Sunday, May 29, 2022, the weather office said in a statement on Sunday.
Conditions were favourable for further advance of southwest monsoon into some parts of central Arabian Sea, remaining parts of Kerala, some more parts of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, during next three to four days.
3. Kerala is set to have a fully electrified double-track railway from Sunday with the opening of the 16.7-km parallel line from Chingavanam to Ettumanoor in Kottayam district. With its opening, the long wait for a double track on the Kayamkulam–Kottayam– Ernakulam section would come to an end.
Services along the track is set to start Sunday evening.
It was back in 2001 that sanction was received for the doubling the railway track from Kayamkulam to Ernakulam via Kottayam. Initially, clearance was given for work on the Ernakulam–Mulanthuruthy stretch and subsequently, other areas were covered. The last stretch from Chingavanam to Ettumanoor is ready now after 21 years.
Apart from the second line, the Railways also laid two new lines from Kottayam railway station to Muttambalam railway gate bypassing the famous twin tunnels.
4. In a digital scrutiny carried out on the orders of the Crime Branch investigation team, it has been ascertained that the crucial video evidence in the 2017 actress assault case leaked from the court after nearly two years. The video contains the explicit visuals of the sexual assault of the actress on a moving car that was waylaid by gangsters on February 17, 2017.
The very next day on February 18, the main accused N S Sunil Kumar, aka Pulsar Suni, copied the visuals, suspected to be shot on his mobile phone, to the memory card. The forensic examination report pointed out that the memory card, which contained the visuals, was illegally accessed after it was submitted in court.
Pulsar Suni's advocate had submitted the memory card at the Angamali magistrate court on February 2017. The memory card, which has been kept in the court's custody, was opened and its files checked for the first time on December 13, 2018. Since then, the memory card had been accessed several times, as per the forensic report.
Meanwhile, the prosecution and the probe team were unaware about the existence of such a report for a long while. Curiously, the investigators were in the dark even during the witness examination of the forensic expert who had analysed the memory card. This report was prepared on January 21, 2020. But the prosecution and the probe officers came to know of this only in February 2022. Still there is no clarity on when the report, prepared in January 2020, was submitted in the trial court.
The Crime Branch Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) has given a directive to find out how this serious lapse happened. It is being checked whether the report was kept in the forensic lab without handing it over to the court or whether it was not communicated to the investigation team that the report has been submitted in court.
5. The latest National Family Health Survey has come up with some interesting findings related to pregnancy among Indian women. It revealed that 6.2 per cent of pregnancies were aborted in Kerala owing to health reasons, compared to the national average of 7.3 per cent. In addition, 3.2 per cent of the pregnancies were terminated in the state, leading to a total abortion rate of 9.6 per cent.
The national abortion rate was 2.9 per cent as per the survey. According to the survey, the leading causes for abortions in Kerala were complicated pregnancy, poor health of mother, unwanted pregnancy and abnormalities in the foetus.
The survey also states that Kerala was better placed in stillbirths, with a figure of 0.2 per cent compared to 0.9 in the country.
Yet another serious finding of the survey related to female foeticide. Medical termination of pregnancy when the foetus is found to be female was reported in 2.1 per cent cases. At the same time, the male foeticide rate was 0.4 per cent. Incidentally, both these situations did not exist in Kerala.
States where the highest female foeticide rate was recorded include, Goa at 7.3 per cent, Bihar at 5.3 per cent, Jharkhand at 4.9 per cent, Punjab at 4.2 per cent, Karnataka at 3 per cent and UP at 2.7 per cent.
That brings us to the end of this episode. Be sure to come back tomorrow. As always, thanks for listening to Daily News Dose.