Tuesday 29 October 2013

Hungry and Slave

The first Global Slavery Index has estimated that half the number of global modern-day slaves live in India. The index, published by the Australia based Walk Free Foundation has estimated up to 14.7 million people live like slaves in the country. However, as a percentage of population, Mauritania, Haiti and Pakistan top the list of modern-day slaves  and India ranks fourth.

The estimate is based on practices such as forced child marriage, debt bondage, human trafficking, forced labour and sale and exploitation of children. Among the 162 countries for which data available, Iceland has lowest number of slaves - less than 100.

The Slavery Index and  the Global Hunger Index published on 14th October, are showing the pathetic socio-economic scenario of India. The Hunger Index has shown, despite decline during the last five years, 25 percent ( 210 million ) of global hungry people live in India. 

Incredible India

A baby, born in the latrine of a motionless train and dropped instantly on the railway line through the outlet, was saved by quick action of railway staff at Palashi railway station of Nadia district in West Bengal on last Tuesday.

The scream of the mother, Rehana Biwi, from the lavatory drew attention of fellow passengers in the stationary train who immediately alerted the nearby railway staff. They quickly rescued the newborn from the rail line and sent him to local Meera Health Center along with his mother.

Fast arrangement and proper medical attention have saved the mother and her son.

Saturday 26 October 2013

A Great Recovery

A big portion of the Cheliabinox shooting star, which suddenly showered Kakesus mountain range of Russia in February 2013 escaping all astronomers vigil, has been recovered from nearby Chelberkool lake. The piece of stone is more than 570 kg. in weight and, probably 4.5 billion years old - the age of our planet. 

Recently Russian scientists found a 20 feet wide hole on the deposited ice of Chelberkool lake. Further investigation revealed a portion of the meteor has created the hole and it was buried 8 feet below the lake's bottom.

Despite caution, the piece of the meteor broke up to three pieces during the recovery process. 

Planet without Star

Detecting the faint and unique heat signature, a group of researchers has identified a new freely floating gasious planet which is not orbiting a star. The detection is made by wide-range field survey telescope of Hawaii Maui island.

Planet without Star

The rare cosmological event is observed 80 light years away from the Earth, the research team leader Michael Liu reported.

The baby planet is only 12 million years old and has a six times more mass than Jupiter. The newly detected exoplanet is dubed PSO J318.5-22.

The study report, which is recently published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters, claims the object has planetary properties but lacks a host star.

Hope For Cancer Patients

For the first time a potentially noninvasive technique that can distinguish breast cancer subtypes accurately and provide early breast cancer detection has been reported from the Department of Biochemical Engineering at Vanderbilt University, according to Cancer Research Journal, October 2013 Issue.

Hope For Cancer Patients

The technique called Optimal Metabolic Imaging ( OMI ) can differentiate between malignant and normal cells. The key to the ability of the new technique lies in the different frequencies of fluorescence of 'NADH' and 'FAD'. OMI can differentiate between estrogen receptor-positive and estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer cells. This is not possible by existing standerd clinical metabolic techniques.

OMI offers an unprecedented level of accuracy in finding breast cancer at the earliest stage and tracking the treatment more accurately than done before, the report claims.

Genetic Mutations and Breast Cancer

Rare mutations in the RINT1 gene which enhance risk of breast cancer have been identified by a team of international researchers led by University of Melbourne, Australia. The discovery explains the reason behind early breast cancer cases in some multiple-case cancer tormented families.

Prof. Melissa Southey of Melbourne University said that this discovery would help more women to learn the genetic explanations for their breast cancer risk.The rare mutations in RINT1 were identified in more than 6% families participating in the multiple-case breast cancer family study.

The Study Report of the research has been presented at the American Society of Human Genetics 2013 annual meeting on 25th October, 2013.

Friday 25 October 2013

Cheapest Android Tablet

The 7-inch Avoca 7 Android tablet with access to Google Play Store and thousands of app is on sale for £49. This is claimed to be lowest-priced tablet ever.

The device has 1GHz processor, 512MB of RAM, front-facing 0.3 megapixel camera and a screen resolution of 800 X 480. It weighs 350g. and the battery is 3000mAH with built-in 8GB storage and e-Book reader.

Carphone Warehouse has slashed the price from usual £99 to £49.  

Thursday 24 October 2013

Iranian Nanocarrier

Researchers in Iran succeeded in producing hesperetin nanocarrier using biochemical compounds with anti-oxidant properties where hesperetin is a nutritive compound acting as anti-cancer agent and reduces blood pressure.

nano carrier

The researchers have made it possible by using ultrasound waves through mechanical method.

Dr. Milad Fathi, one of the researchers, reported that the project was carried out in a way that the nutritive nanomaterials were completely eatable. It also took care that the method was applicable at industrial scale. It is claimed that the results of the research can be extended  for protection and controlled release of sensitive drugs.

The details of the research have been published recently in the 6th Issue of Food and Bioprocess Technology.

Tuesday 22 October 2013

Urban Head Hunter

The teen ager head hunters live near immersion ghats of the river Ganges in Kolkata. Throughout the year and particularly before big festivals, they eagerly wait for earthen idols in the immersion ghats. Just before sinking of the idols, they leap into the river and quickly unfasten the heads from idols and swim back to shore holding the 'prize catch' above water. They are the slum dwellers near Babu ghat, kolkata.

Municipality employees try to dissuade them for possible danger. But the risky business continues for money. If they can salvage one unbroken and spotless head, they earn more than Rs.30 ( USD 1/2 ).

The cycle completes when agents from Kumortooli, the largest earthen idol-making business centre of Bengal, come and buy back only dry and unbroken heads from them.

In 'off-seasons' the teen agers collect coins thrown into the river by devotees to please Maa Ganga - the river goddess. Fastening a magnet in one side of a long rope and holding the other end, the boys throw the magnets aiming the location of coins into the river. Their incredible skill often help them to retrieve some coins.

Monday 21 October 2013

Wi-Fi Surveillance Of Catastrophe

Present day wi-fi enabled educational institutions, business establishments, restaurants and even market places are a symbol of technological development of a nation.Be it whats app, facebook or any other communication trend, this resourceful technique is at our service. And now a deep sea wi-fi system is being worked upon, not for the whales to track humans using the GPS system but to warn us of catastrophic signals.

Researchers from the University of Buffalo, New York have used sound waves instead of radio waves for the underwater wi-fi system. It is expected to aid in tsunami detection, offshore oil detection and also air pollution monitoring. The chief researcher Tommaso Melodia said that this submerged wireless network will give tremendous ability to procure and analyze data from the oceans in real time.

In this way untold miseries can be pre-informed through smartphones or computer worldwide and curtailed with maximum efficiency if not prevented.

wifi surveillance of catastroph

Sunday 20 October 2013

Flower Friendly New Sensor

Gardeners and busy plant-loving home makers will be happy that a new plant sensor will soon arrive at market which can measure different needs of plants and advise accordingly.

Flower Friendly New Sensor

Parrot's Flower Power is the new wireless device which can be placed in the soil of an indoor or outdoor plant to measure moisture in the soil, need for sunshine, fertilizer requirement etc. It uses Bluetooth to send the information to an application of iPhone or iPad. The 'Y' shaped device is small and can be placed easily in the plant's soil. 

The collected data is stored in the device's flash memory till it is within a Bluetooth range for connection. The application has a library of 6000 plants with information and advice on each plant.

According to the declaration, the device includes 6 months' battery life from AAA battery. The Flower Power will be available from November, 2013 for USD 59.99.

Thursday 17 October 2013

Treasure Trove Via Dream-Mail !

Archeological Survey of India is starting excavation at a 60 acre dilapidated old fort at Thandia Khera village of Uttar Pradesh, India, from 18th October as a follow up action of a dream-mail of a local holy man, Sovan Sarkar.

The hermit has convinced Government of India that 1000 tons of gold is buried in the abandoned 'Raj Mahal'. The treasure, according to the dream of the pious man, belongs to Raja Rao Ram Box who reigned in the area in mid-19th century.

In order to examine the truthfulness of the dream, a team of Geological Survey of India has already surveyed the fort and  has detected signals from metal 15/20 feet below the 'Raj Mahal', a report says.

Now, the people of India anxiously waiting to know the result of the ensuing excavation.

Update :  After six days of excavation up to three meter depth not a single gram of gold has been traced. Meanwhile, the holy man again has hinted that huge amount of gold will be available from at least four places
of Uttar Pradesh. The spread of the news has led to a mad search for the hidden treasure.

Local gangs partially vandalised the Shiva temple at Piparhari in Banda district and illegally dug adjoining areas of two ancient temples in Fatepur and Banda.

Local administration apprehending  the specter of a new El Dorado in the region. Police patrolling has started around a temple at Chaubepur and Kanpur Parade Ground - the two places in center of the rumour.

Update : After eleven days of continuous excavation up to 5 metre depth, Archaeological Survey of India has stopped excavation at the initial site of 'Raj Mahal'. The excavation team leader has said there is hardly any possibility of obtaining gold in the site.

However, ASI will continue its' excavation at another end of the same area, according to the last report.

Eleven days of excavation has produced some artefacts of 7AD. A few articles are said to be 1BC.

Update : ASI formally and finally stopped all excavation activities at Daundia Khera on November 14, 2013 when a single gram of gold was not traced even after digging the second trench. Now, ASI officials are lamenting for loss of face of the organization and questioning authenticity of the GSI report declaring possibility of finding non-conductive metals below 'Rajmahal'.

Tuesday 15 October 2013

Human Hybrid !

Elaborate examination of DNA samples, video footage, photos and other tangible materials by 11 laboratories and universities suggest existence of genetic hybrid of human in North America.

More than 100 separate samples of toenail, mucus, blood, skin with hair and subcutaneous tissue were submitted recently by dozens of individuals and groups from reportedly 34 collection sites of North America. The samples include a video footage of an alleged 'Bigfoot', also known as Sasquatch, shows "a reddish brown Sasquatch juvenile" sleeping in the Kentucky woods.

Bigfoot or Sasquatch

Some samples in the genome sequences test show that parts of DNA samples are not identical to any other previously known species. This result has led to to suggest that a genetic hybrid of human has been discovered. The samples indicate that the genetic material "originated from modern human females," Dr. Melba Ketchum of Sasquatch Genome Project noted.

Monday 14 October 2013

A Collage of Bengal's Durga Puja

Increasing crime against women all over the country seems to have influenced puja organizers  to choose themes in Kolkata and in districts of Bengal. Many puja committees this year have used the platforms of Durga puja, a symbol of woman empowerment, to sensitize people against female foeticide and child marriage.

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They do not know who will die next time. They are the AIDS patients of The School of Tropical Medicine, Kolkata. But they are used to be taken to a trip by car on 'Mahastami' (second day of puja ) morning every year since 2009 to observe the pomp and glory of Durga puja. The arranging agent, Medical Bank, has failed to make the trip this year for lack of money. Next year the trip might be possible, but some of the patients will not be there for the trip.

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Durga puja in Bengal

The sex-workers of Sonagachhi, the largest red-light area of the City of Joy, have fulfilled their long cherished dream this year. Married women have smeared vermilion on the forehead of Devi Durga for the first time. After long battles in the Courts of  Law to worship the Devi openly they took part in vermilion play with fellow sex-workers from other parts of the city on 'Dashami'.Visibly overwhelmed, they broke into tears of delight, when enlightened visitors supported their initiative for the arrangement of the Devi Durga Puja.

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At dead of night of 'Saptami' five-six gunmen raided a 'Durga Mandapa' of a distinguished family at Tapsi village of Jamuria in Burdwan district, unfastened the original gold ornaments (more than 600 gms. ) from the idol of the Devi and ran away with the booty after overpowering the two guards. It appears that even Devi Durga is not safe now-a-days.

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Despite two dry-day on 'Astami' and 'Dashami', the two other days of Durga Puja have touched a new record sale of wine in Bengal this year, Seventy five crore rupees ( USD 12500000 ) has been deposited as sales tax only in the State's treasury for the sale of the wine - a all time record. Bengalis have taken a bath of wine during the festival !

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The Government of West Bengal has joined the bandwagon of declaring prizes for best pujas in Kolkata and in districts of the state. Till date an exclusive area for private initiative, the government has chosen to break the tradition to utilize the platform of Durga puja for publicizing its projects. Community pujas highlighting the government's social projects and cottage industry of Bengal will be awarded.

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In Durgapur of Asansol district of Bengal people have witnessed a novel thing in a 'pandal' - the temporary home of Devi Durga. Here, grasshoppers are attracted to artificial coppice than real ones by the side of the 'pandal'. The insects are appeared to be more interested in clean and green artificial thickets than dirty but real bush. In another 'pandal' of Asansol the chariot of Devi Durga is seen to be drawn by bullocks instead of horses, as described in the mythology. The reason forwarded by the locals is that it is a sign of respect to the agriculture minister who is incidentally a local person. So, political consideration seems to be overriding mythological description at last.

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The flow of poor people of distant districts into Kolkata has significantly dropped this year. Train-load of people were used to come into the city and they were observable everywhere hopping 'pandals' throughout nights. Considerable increase in transport fare, emergence of big community pujas in districts and fear of bad weather have reduced the flow of human traffic, an assessment report says.

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The date has come to bid adieu to 'Maa Durga' and she is returning for one year to her father-in-law's home in the Himalayas. At 'pandals' married women are busy waving articles of worship before the Devi  for temporary farewell and smearing vermilion to fellow married women. 'Dashami', the date for immersion of Devi  Durga idol into the river Ganges, is also a day of sorrow for Bengali in general.

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More than 100,000 idols have been immersed in the downstream of the river Ganges in Bengal this year. If all festivals are taken into account, several lakh earthen idols are immersed every year in the river. Chemicals used for colouring clothes and body of idols are heavily polluting the water, according to a green activist who has moved the National Green Tribunal for a eco-friendly alternative to the custom of idol immersion. Contextually, as an alternative to immersion, one big idol of Durga ( 24 feet tall ) was melted by water cannon at a salt lake 'pandal' this year.

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In the aftermath of Durga puja there is a rush for beautiful idols, pieces of decorative art forms of 'pandals' or even portion of 'pandals' for preservation. The requests to Puja Committees  are pouring in from big businessmen, state government, National Academy of Arts and even reportedly from a musium of Rome, Italy.


Saturday 12 October 2013

Durga Puja of Kolkata in 2013

One kind of intoxication has firmly gripped the City of Joy from 'Sasti' - the day of consecration of Devi Durga. People in general have become oblivious of daily routines and a festive mood has engulfed the City of Joy. From children to very old citizens, particularly the youth, are in pursuit of their due share in the autumnal festival of Bengal - perhaps best in the world.

Chanting of 'anjali mantras' ( a mystical sacred hymn for offering devotion to the goddess ) through loud speakers are drawing large number of devotees to 'pandals'. In the city suburbs many teenagers are busy to perform in cultural functions. Elderly persons are simply loafing about at prominent places beside 'pandals'. Road side eateries  are full of hungry 'pandal'  hoppers day and night. Before 'Mahastami' even the wine shops are at sea to take care of long queues in front of the shops.

Poor people of adjoining districts, wearing their best clothes, are thronging Kolkata to enjoy the on going pomp, novel themes and illumination of 'pandals'. Even Bengali television channels are competing among themselves to spread the glory of the Durga puja in the city in general and big 'baroari' (community ) pujas in particular.

With four consecutive holidays, the urban middle class is in the peak of the festive mood and trying to enjoy it up to the hilt in different ways. Even the onslaught of cyclone Failin in the neighboring state Orissa and its mild impact on Kolkata has failed to dampen the spirit of the festival at 'Mahastami' night.

Thursday 10 October 2013

O Kolkata Devi Durga Puja

Defeating all administrative hurdles and successfully fighting the battle in the courts just for worshipping Devi Durga idol openly, the sex-workers of Sonagachhi, the largest red light area of the City of Joy, are finally fulfilling their long cherished dreams. Emboldened by the final court verdict, scores of organizers are now busy making arrangements for the puja rituals. Seven hand-cart loads of sacred 'vog' (kooked rice after offering to the godess) will be distributed to the shelters/homes of thousands of sex-workers in Sonagachhi. They will smear vermilion on the forehead (a sign of married Hindu women) of Devi Durga's  idol on the day of immersion in the river Ganges. They will also smear vermilion to the fellow sex-workers on 'Dashami' day - for the first time in their life.

On the other side of the coin, one big community puja in the eastern side of the city has adorned the idol with 12kg.of original gold ornaments! At the Udayan Sangha in south Kolkata the matchless idol of Devi Durga has been carved out of 16 ton single piece sand stone (idol is 9 ton).

Meanwhile, for the first time Kolkata police has pressed into service a flying machine to watch vehicular traffic movement in day and night with a high resolution camera from a maximum height of 250 meters. Purchased from DRDO, the drone can fly 90 to 120 minutes at a stretch within a radius of 2.5 kms. The drone will keep watch of different immersion spots in the river Ganges and promptly send photos to ground control for quick action. 

The day of  ''Panchami '' has already witnessed  the swelling pandal hoppers even before the consecration of the images of Devi Durga. With sunny weather in the afternoon of "Sasthi", Kolkata is readying itself for burst of crowd and a sea of humanity on the streets.

Wednesday 9 October 2013

Jaws of Death Defeated

Desperate and do-or-die attempt of a lover saved her husband from the jaws of a large crocodile. The battle took place in the Mridangabhanga rivulet of Sundarban delta, inside West Bengal, India.

In the calm morning of 5th October fisherman Hasibul was busy in the rivulet as usual  and his wife Aansura was standing beside the river. Suddenly, a crocodile grabbed his left leg and started pulling him deep inside water. Stunned initially, Aansura leaped into the water with a piece of bamboo stick and somehow managed to mount upon the animal. Hasibul was still fighting for his life. When repeated beating on the head of the crocodile failed to free her husband, she penetrated the stick to one eye of the attacker. Bewildered and hurt, the animal released severely wounded Hasibul and retreated.

Hasibul later got back his sense and at present recovering in a local hospital at Patharpratima, in the South 24 Pargana District of West Bengal.

Fastest Touchscreen

Apple's iPad mini is empowering the user with the fastest touchscreen of all the popular tablets in the market today. The result is ascertained after testing the popular brands including Microsoft Surface RT and Samsung Galaxy Tab 3.

The iPad mini takes average response time of 75 milliseconds and the second fastest is the fourth gen iPad with a response time of 81 milliseconds, a survey report says today.

Although the time difference of activising the screen of different touchscreen brands hardly matters for most users, it is important for those who love the best.

Tuesday 8 October 2013

Afghan Fast Forward

Taliban allowed cricket in the country in the year 2000, Afghanistan Cricket council was formed in 2001 and in 2013, the national team have qualified for ICC One Day World Championship to be played in Australia-New Zealand in 2015.

The dream run was unthinkable in the civil war torn country before 2000 where the game of cricket was banned. But the indomitable Afghan have made it possible by blowing away the Kenyan challenge . Kenya had to accept  a big defeat in the crucial match in Sharjah on 4th October by huge 7 wickets.

Infamous for bombs and bullets and not as a sporting nation, the country has made quick progress in different arena of sports in recent years. They have won South Asian Federation Football Championship in last September by defeating giant India in the final. In 2010 they won gold in South Asian Basketball and bronze medals in Beijing and London Olympics in Taekwondo.

Update : Afghanistan got the ticket of playing T-20 World Cup Cricket to be played in Bangladesh next year. Spirited Afghans defeated Kenya by 34 runs in the last qualifying match in Sharjah on 24th November, 2013.

Monday 7 October 2013

Unique Durga Puja of Bengal

Another Durga puja, the festival for killing the demon by woman power, is knocking the door of Bengal. The final count down has started for the biggest autumnal show in the region.

Roads of Kolkata are being fragmented by virtual walls made of bamboos and wooden logs to control pandal hopping sea of humanity and reduce chaos of vehicular traffic from 10th to 14th October. Two sides of the main streets and nearby areas of major pandals of the city are being  covered by large banners and posters of A to Z products. The city is being illuminated in every nook and corner and the organizers have no time to eat and sleep. Even the Chief Minister of Bengal to silver screen celebrities have become busy with inaugurating hundreds of community pujas in the City of Joy and its suburbs. Artists and craftsmen from all over the country and even from Pakistan are working day and night to give finishing touches to all conceivable themes of art in pandals - the temporary shelters of the Durga idols.

Durga puja in Bengal touches all segments of people ignoring religious individualism. Even Bengali Muslims (28% of Bengal population) largely participates in the festival and communist parties open road side book stalls of Marxist literature to attract large number of common people. It appears that Bengalees are genetically connected with the festival and some of them spend lavishly going beyond their ability. It is also the time when many emigrant Bengali and tourists, mostly from North America and Western Europe, come to Bengal to enjoy the strangeness and unique festive mood of the state.

Durga idol image

The financial transactions for the festival touching new record every year. Despite slower economic growth and high retail inflation,Chamber of Commerce has estimated that this year's festival related expenditure will touch Rs. 37 thousand crore (USD 596,77,41,935 roughly). Many industries, particularly garments, durable consumer goods and tourism have been enveloping  large areas of print  and electronic media during the last one month for a greater share of the expenditure. Millions of  additional man-days  of unskilled  and semi-skilled  laborers are also created for making the earthen Durga idols, erection of pandals, immersion of idols and many other puja related activities. So, the Bengal's economy gets a boost too.

The only dark side of the episode is fleecing of traders and householders by some community puja organizers for large 'donation'. However, now-a-days industry and business houses have entered the arena in a big way
for sponsoring the big community pujas  in lieu of advertisement of their products. 


Sunday 6 October 2013

Technological Wizard Attracts Entrepreneurs

His drone can fly 10 kms. at a time within a radius of 5 kms. and can take high resolution clear photographs of ground objects from a height of 5000 feet and can instantly relay them back to its ground operator. But the young technologist has failed to get any response from DRDO ( Defense Research and Development Organization - India ) for financial help and his appeal for support  from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for value addition to his flying machine has also been turned down since he is yet to achieve the B.Tech. degree.

Subhanjan Saha with his drone at Eco Park, Kolkata

However, the indomitable spirit of Subhanjan Saha, a third year Computer Science student of a Kolkata college has attracted dozens of entrepreneurs who find immense commercial potential in the proven abilities of the drone and scope for further improvement. By dint of a social network, the young man of a weaver family of rural Bengal has roped in  entrepreneurs who want to use the flying machine to keep vigil in their factory premises and for park surveillance purposes where CCTV is useless.

The 2- meter long miniature drone with a wing span of 3- meters can store data and fitted with instrument to measure weather condition and night vision. It can also response ground command from a remote control device. The flying machine's cost is Rs.90,000/- ( US $ 1450).

With the help of superior technology the inventor is now working on bomb-dropping and rocket-launching capabilities of his drone. Subhanjan believes that at the present stage of development of his drone it can be a good help for defense forces for surveillance and security purposes in inhospitable, inaccessible and enemy-infested areas.

Update: RC India community, a community for Indian aeromodellers, strongly denies the claim of Mr. Subhanjan Saha of flying his drone beyond visual range. 

Thursday 3 October 2013

The Disaster

The entire water body of a pond disappeared overnight a few years ago. Now, a young woman has fallen into the burning underground coal of an abandoned mine through a three feet wide crack that was suddenly created in in her courtyard. It all occurred in the colliery belt of Asansol, West Bengal, India.

The latest accident occurred at Sanctoria Labour Colony under Eastern Coalfields Limited in the evening of 26th September. The surface of the plane was trembling from the noon, not uncommon in the area. But, cracking of the surface under the feet of Hena Khatoon (19 years) happened so quickly and so much heat and hot smoke suddenly came out of the hole that the young woman could not save  herself.

Later on that night and on the very next day mine rescue team of ECL tried in vain to retrieve the girl. The temperature of the spot after two hours of the accident was measured more than 500 degree celsius. However, on 29th September the rescue team cut a tunnel  up to the spot by PCM machine and could get back the charred body remains of the ill-fated young woman.

Land subsidence and consequent loss of life and property due to inadequate filling of abandoned mines and unauthorized mining by coal mafia in different coal blocks of Asansol has become common in the area.