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Last surviving victim of 2006 Mumbai blasts dies

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Mumbai: After remaining in a coma for several years, the last of the injured survivors of serial blasts on Mumbai suburban trains on July 11, 2006, died here early Tuesday, officials said.

A Bhayander resident, Parag Sawant, 36, had sustained serious head injuries and brain trauma in a blast on one such train.

He is survived by his wife Priti and eight-year-old daughter Praniti. Sawant never saw his only child as she was born after he went into a coma. His wife was given a job in the Indian Railways to help sustain the family.

During is long stay at the hospital, Parag Sawant became a popular figure among the people for his will to live. He regained consciousness briefly in 2008, and was visited by personalities like former deputy prime minister L.K. Advani and union minister Sushma Swaraj.

The 7/11 serial blasts on Mumbai suburban trains were carried out in a time span of barely 11 minutes, targetting crowded suburban train services during evening peak hours.

As many as 209 commuters were killed and more than 700 others injured as bombs kept in pressure cookers went off in north-bound locals of the Western Railway at Bhayander, Borivali, Jogeshwari, Khar Road, Bandra, Mahim and Matunga Road. One unexploded bomb was found by police and defused at Borivali.

Then aged 27, Sawant was travelling in a Churchgate-Virar train to his home when a bomb ripped apart a coach near Bhayander, a suburban town in adjoining Thane district.

He was rushed to Bhaktivedanta Hospital on Mira Road and later shifted to P.D. Hinduja Hospital in south Mumbai.

He remained in a coma for about two years, said consultant neurosurgeon Dr. B.K. Misra, who attended on him.

“His condition gradually improved to a semi-conscious state, in which he understood simple commands. He underwent multiple operations for brain treatment and was thereafter on supportive care and physiotherapy for a few years,” Misra recalled.

A nurse had checked on Sawant early Tuesday, and found him stable. However, at around 6 a.m., the oxygen level in his blood dropped and he was put on oxygen to stabilise his breathing.

“He suffered sudden cardio-respiratory arrest, after which a cardio-pulmonary resuscitation team took all measures to revive him but in vain. Parag Sawant was declared dead at 6:54 a.m due to cardio-respiratory arrest. The most likely cause of immediate deterioration in his condition is pulmonary embolism,” Misra said.

Hospital director and senior medico Sanjay Agarwala said the staff rendered utmost care to Sawant during his stay at the hospital for almost nine years.

“I am sad to hear the news. In fact, last week, I was discussing with his family members my plans to visit Parag at the hospital on the ninth anniversary of the 7/11 blasts on Saturday. His family and Parag took the tragedy bravely,” said Kirit Somaiya, BJP parliamentarian from Mumbai North-East.

(With inputs from IANS)

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Indian Railways to Introduce New Technology to Generate Power; Aims to Add 4 Lakh Berths

"Once the power cars are removed, they will be replaced with two additional AC-3 tier coaches, adding 130 berths," the official said

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indian railways
"By adopting the HOG technology we will make way for more coaches," the official said, adding that it will also save Rs 6,000 crore in fuel bills annually," said the official. Wikimedia Commons

The Indian Railways which carries over 12 lakh passengers every day, aims to provide four lakh more berths for passengers every day from October when it will adopt the technology to generate power from the locomotives instead of the two power cars, railway officials said on Wednesday.

A senior Railway Ministry official related to the development told IANS: “Currently there are one or two power cars attached to the train with diesel generators to supply electricity connection to run the air conditioning units, fans and lights in the train coaches.”

The power cars are also called as End on Generation (EOG). The official said that from October onwards, the railways will introduce the new technology known as “Head on Generation” (HOG), which is currently used worldwide to generate power for the AC units, fans and lights in train coaches.

The official said with the HOG technology, the power to provide electric supply to the AC units, fans, lights from the overhead power lines and then is distributed to train coaches. According to the railway ministry officials, by October 2019, over 5,000 coaches of the Indian Railways will operate on the new technology.

indian railways
“Once the power cars are removed, they will be replaced with two additional AC-3 tier coaches, adding 130 berths,” the official said. Wikimedia Commons

“By adopting the HOG technology we will make way for more coaches,” the official said, adding that it will also save Rs 6,000 crore in fuel bills annually,” said the official.

He pointed out that a power car needs about 40 litres of diesel per hour per non-AC coach while an AC coach needs 65-70 litres of diesel per hour. The official also said the new system is eco-friendly as no air or noise pollution will be there and it will help in reducing carbon emissions by 700 MT per year per train.

The official said by removing one power car from the train, the railways can add a passenger coach in the train thus increasing the number of berths in the train without increasing the train length.

Giving the example of Rajdhani Express, the official said the Rajdhanis are currently hauled by a single locomotive with two diesel-powered generator cars at the rear to provide air conditioning and lighting within the train.

“After carrying out extensive tests, we have decided to remove the power cars. Power, obtained from the overhead cables through the pantograph of the lead engine, will be converted for providing air conditioning and lighting. This will be done through what in technical parlance is known as a hotel load converter,” he said.

“By doing so we can attach two more AC-3 tier coaches to the train,” he said. Rajdhani Express trains currently have 22 coaches with over 1,200 berths of various categories. “Once the power cars are removed, they will be replaced with two additional AC-3 tier coaches, adding 130 berths,” the official said.

Indian Railways
The official said by removing one power car from the train, the railways can add a passenger coach in the train thus increasing the number of berths in the train without increasing the train length. Wikimedia Commons

He said that once all LHB coaches are on this system, there will be an increase of more than four lakh berths everyday and thus additional revenue as well. The railways earlier this year tried to increase the speed and number of berths in Hazrat Nizamuddin-Mumbai Rajdhani Express by hauling it with two locomotives, one from front and the other at the rear.

The official said the trial run was approved on Feb 7 by the Research Design and Standard Organisation (RDSO). The pilot project led to the saving of over 105 minutes of travel time between New Delhi and Mumbai as it covered the 1,543 km in about than 17 hours from the previous 19 hours.

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The official pointed out that the push-and-pull technology, being tried out, is successfully adopted globally. This not only increases a train’s hauling capacity but also reduces jerks when the brakes are applied as the load gets equally distributed through all the coaches,” the official said.

A senior railway ministry official said the railways has last year experimented with twin-locomotives on the Rajdhani, with both engines in front. However, it was found that this did not make for a smooth ride. (IANS)