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INS Sindhuratna – a tale of neglect

It seems the main reason of the fire caused on the submarine INS Sindhuratna was the delay in changing the batteries. These ageing batteries are suspected to have caused fire and had the battery compartment engulfed in smoke which was detected by Lt Cdr Kapish Singh Muwal and Lt Cdr Manoranjan Kumar who bravely shoved their colleagues to safety and laid down their lives for their duty. However it is indeed a shame for the country, the Defence ministry and the top brass in the Indian Navy that such incidents have claimed lives of their courageous soldiers. Wreaths were duly laid at the coffins of the brave sailors to honour them in Mumbai but indeed they could have served the country much better. In times of emergency, insurgency or even foreign attack the country and the people depend upon the valor of such officers of the armed forces, many of whom have been lost by the Indian Navy for their unreasonably limited vision. Delay in buying the latest armory, upgrading of the current fleet and their allied equipment and bad maintenance has today come to face the Navy in the form of a series of mishaps claiming invaluable lives and crippling their fleets. The blue water is being splashed with the blood of Indian sailors and the resignation of the Navy’s top order is not what the need of the hour is. The ageing submarine batteries could not be replaced as the Ministry of Defence had disapproved to their acquisition causing a scarcity for them. INS Sindhuratna was a kilo class submarine with old and unchanged batteries which had not been changed during its renovation in last year December. The result of this complex and illogical acts of the Indian Navy and the Ministry of Defence led to an explosion claiming the lives of two officers severely injuring seven others. The INS Sindhuratna is a diesel-electric vessel running on batteries while being submerged. It runs on 240 lead acid batteries weighing about 800 kg each. These batteries release flammable hydrogen gas while charging. Any fire or smoke detection immediately invokes safety systems that act to extinguish the source of fire. It was due to this emergency fire extinguishing activity that the two sailors were isolated in a death trap of poisonous gases that snuffed life out of them slowly and painfully. A high level investigation has been ordered by the Navy under Flag Officer Rear Admiral S.V. Bokhare that will delve into each detail of the accident. On completion...

India vs Pakistan at Dhaka

Perhaps the most awaited match of the Indian sub-continent will be played out today on March 02, during the ongoing Asia Cup 2014 at Dhaka. Ever since cricket began in the sub-continent an India vs Pakistan encounter has brought out the best in each team. Earlier they used to face-off particularly in Sharjah, UAE but recently it has been the Asia Cup held every two years that brings about this opportunity for the teams and the cricket lovers. India has won their first match against Bangladesh but was shunted by Sri Lanka and will go in to this third match against arch rivals Pakistan with a do or die attitude. As Sri Lanka have almost guaranteed a berth in the final of the tournament by virtue of their consecutive wins it remains up to India or Pakistan to book the other by winning today’s game. The spectators are going to be in for a live wire entertainment that will be worth a watch. Pakistan has also lost the tournament opener against Sri Lanka and has a win against newbie Afghanistan. It will be a match where Indian batting will fight off Pakistani...

The Indian Navy’s heroes

They may be called Lt Commander Manoranjan Kumar, Lt Commander Kapish Singh Munwal or even Commander Sandeep Singh but each live and die for the other in the Indian Navy. At the instance when a battery leak fueled a fire in Indian submarine INS Sindhuratna of the Indian Navy off the Mumbai coast during an exercise in the early hours on February 26, 2014, these men aboard the submarine were busy in saving each others lives. On Friday the Indian Navy paid their last respect to Lt Commander Manoranjan Kumar, Lt Commander Kapish Singh Munwal who sacrificed their lives trying to put out the fire while shoving their colleagues to safety away from the smoke filled battery compartment. While the emergency extinguisher apparatus was trying to put out the fire by spraying, the safety hatch came down trapping these two brave sailors inside the battery compartment filled with toxic gases. They suffocated to death by inhaling the toxic gases only to save the submarine and their colleagues. They were given full military honors and were both second generation navy personnel. The nation has been by the side of their family, friends and the navy during this hour of misfortune. The selfless act of their Commanding Officer Sandeep Singh is also to be retold to inspire people to act just to complete their responsibilities defying deathly conditions. He jumped into the fire compartment knowing fully well the surrounding conditions and eminent death just to save his juniors as he was responsible for them. He was taken seriously ill as a result and had been critical when admitted to the hospital many hours after the accident. However he has now been taken off the ventilator and seems to have had a close shave with death. He has also fought courageously against death and expected to back to normal soon enough. Seven other officers had been critical when they had fallen sick due to inhalation of the toxic fumes aboard the submarine INS Sindhuratna. Sinha known as Sandy is the son of a retired naval commander and son-in-law of a retired rear admiral posted in Mumbai and is the father of two lovely children. Being a part of the naval family he knows the challenges of his job and the kind of sacrifices it entails. Sinha had rushed into the burning compartment 3 of the submarine but had failed to save Kapish Muwal and Manoranjan Kumar. Sinha had then manned the controls personally to bring the submarine up to the water surface....

Serial tragedies mark the Indian Navy

Mishaps and accidents leading to loss of irreplaceable lives of sailors and invaluable loss of submarines which are one of the costliest resources of the Indian Navy have marked the past year. The Indian Navy suffered its latest setback yesterday on February 26, 2014, when smoke emerged from the battery compartment of a kilo class submarine INS Sindhuratna during an exercise off the coast of Mumbai. According to reports a leakage in the battery compartment was the cause of fire causing suffocation to the sailors on board. 80 naval personnel were on duty on the Sindhuratna when the incident took place in the early morning hours. With this tragedy there has been as many as 10 incidents involving naval vessels since August last. Naval chief Admiral DK Joshi resigned from his post accepting moral responsibility for the incidents with 17 months remaining for his tenure to end. In January 2014 INS Sindhughosh an advanced submarine of the Indian Navy which was fully armed had ran aground at the naval harbor in Mumbai carrying 70 sailors. After being struck for over four hours it was tugged back during high tide. The ship INS Vipul of the 22nd Killer Missile Vessel Squadron was found having a hole in its pillar compartment which became a doorway for water when on an operation 70 nautical miles off Mumbai. The shameful stories are true and have continued unhindered indicating something was amiss in the Indian Navy. These instances occurring at regular intervals points out to the lacuna among the top ranked officials and the defense ministry who are both responsible for the maintenance of the fleets of naval vessels and safety of their personnel. INS Airavat a shardul-class amphibious warship suffered minor damages with its propellers running aground while returning to the harbor. The crew’s miscalculation was responsible for the mishap and hence Commander JPS Virk was dismissed from his duty. The Sound Navigation and Ranging system of warship INS Betwa belonging to the Brahmaputra class of ships was spotted having a hairline fracture. INS Tarkash which is a stealth talwar-class frigate hit the jetty damaging its hull. On November 9, 2012 navy’s frontline frigate INS Talwar collided with a fishing trawler near the Ratnagiri coast in Maharashtra which sunk on the spot. Under the eastern naval command INS Konkan a class M-72 ship a mine sweeper caught fire at the dockyard in Visakhapatnam. The final nail in the coffin came via the worst accident of them all in which a blast and fire...

Highway depicts the road to self discovery

Imitiaz Ali gives us a glimpse into a soul rendering and unconventional version of growing up through self discovery in his latest Hindi film Highway. He had declared that this incomplete script had been with him for the last decade and a half as he quite could not make up his mind as how to finish it off. The biggest plus point of Highway a film putting forth an unusual take on life through the meanderings of two people portrayed by Alia Bhatt and Randeep Hooda is the amalgamation of the entire team’s desperate efforts to bring in a crescendo that is rhythmic. Anil Mehta’s camerawork brings out the beauty of India through the diverse landscapes as the film transits through five states. The unconventional harmony of the tuned sourced by master Rahman’s unconventional music grants Highway a high. Aki Narula has stated unabashedly that it is Highway that has endowed him a creative freedom unknown in the Bollywood turf and has been his best film so far. Narula set about buying the clothes from the local markets as the team traveled during the shooting of the film living off only basics completely devoid of luxury. Imitiaz Ali shows a way to many of his colleagues in Bollywood who are unsure about translating their favorite stories into films on the mainstream. As the film unfolds it becomes evident just how sure Imitiaz was of the story that he wanted to share. His main characters called Veera Tripathi and Mahabir break the shackles that bind them to erupt into a freedom that the myriad views around them seemingly allow them. It now becomes comprehensive that his other preceding films Jab We Met, Love Aaj Kal and Rockstar are broken bits of this mother piece Highway which was what Imtiaz always wanted to show. It is an Imitiaz Ali show all the way only in the form of Alia Bhatt who is practically visible in every frame illustrating the nuances of change from within with ample maturity becoming the director’s heroine all the way. Alia has been heaped with praise having breathed life into difficult character. Randeep has been applauded for knowing his character with finesse and delivers a clinical performance. It is indeed a good symbol for Bollywood that these kids are destined to make it big in Bollywood as they have the requisite talent to run long. Indeed it can be said without much ado that after Ram Leela the opulent Hindi film of Bhansali it is Highway which...

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