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Students refuse to stay put

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Hyderabad: Even as the ambiguity over the genuineness of two California-based US universities – Silicon Valley and Northwestern Polytechnic – continues, it is not stopping students from changing their plans to pursue education there, said education consultancies and travel agents in the city.

According to sources, so far close to 42 students have been barred at the Shamshabad airport by Air India and Etihad Airways.

Apart from this, close to 60 students have been deported from the Abu Dhabi airport since December 19.

Despite this, students are ready to take the risk. “Students having i20 document from these two universities are ready to go. They are so impatient that they are ready to take any flight which ensures their entry into the US. However, for safety purposes, we have asked students to wait for one week so that there is clarity on this issue,” said GV Madhav, managing partner of Thirumala Edu Solution in Ameerpet.

Denying the reports of blacklisting, even overseas education consultancies in areas such as Ameerpet, Dilsukhnagar and Basheerbagh are making a dash for their commission from these universities. Sources said that for each admission, such consultancies gain a minimum commission of up to $300 (approx Rs 20,000).

Despite news of consultancies being raided and students being stopped at the airport spreading like wild?re, travel agents confess that it has not proved to be a deterrent for many.

“Students are just looking for alternatives to report to these universities by hook or crook. While airlines have started allowing students, many are trying to get entry into US through different immigration points,” said Sudhakar Reddy, a travel agent who booked the ticket of a student who was barred in the ?rst batch on December 19.

Many who got their tickets cancelled from Etihad are now making trips to the travel agents to seek refund. On this, the Etihad Airways, in a statement on Thursday, stated, “Affected students booked on Etihad Airways who choose not to travel from India to the US can get refunds on cancelled tickets as per their ticketed fare guidelines and policies. Alternatively, they can rebook once at no extra charge in the original class of travel and same fare type subject to availability on ?ights up to January 31.”

Source: TOI-Hyd


Pharmacist jumps off train along with kids; two die

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Guntur: In a heartrending incident, a woman along with her two children jumped out of a train near Tsundur railway station close to Tenali in the early hours of Thursday. The woman died on the spot. Her five-year-old daughter succumbed to injuries on way to hospital, while the three-year-old son is recovering at the Government General Hospital (GGH), Guntur.

Some passengers saw K Sushmita (33), a native of Vijayawada, jumping out of the bogie of Hyderabad-Kollam Express with her kids and immediately alerted police over phone. The police, who rushed in a few minutes, found the woman dead. They took the children to a local hospital in Nidubrolu where daughter Maitrika was declared brought dead.Sushmita’s son Jagruth was taken to GGH after his condition turned critical. Sushmita, who was married to A Kalyan, a software engineer from Hyderabad seven years ago, developed serious differences with him and started working as a pharmacist on CRPF campus in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.

Railway SI Prabhakar said it took some time for them to identify the victims as Sushmita left the luggage and mobile phone on the train.

“Sushmita along with her children boarded the HyderabadKollam Express on Wednesday. She was to disembark at Vijayawada to meet her parents. However, she did not get down there, apparently after making up her mind to commit suicide,” he said.

Family members have been informed about the incident. A case under section 174 of IPC has been registered.

Source: TOI-Hyd


Drive carefully at 5 `black spots' of Hyderabad

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Hyderabad: Next time you drive around the city, beware of the five ‘black spots’ – high danger zones that are terribly accident-prone.

Alarmed at the rising number of accidents in Hyderabad, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has listed five major accident-prone zones within city that require immediate intervention. The road safety cell of the ministry says that Medchal (between Medchal police station and Pudur-Shamirpet road crossing), Uppal cross road, Miyapur cross road, Kothapet cross road and Gaganpahad are the big ‘black spots.’ Authorities describe any zone registering over 20 accidents in a year within a 500 meters stretch as a ‘black spot’. In all these areas, accidents occur for several reasons -a sharp turn on an otherwise straight road, a hidden junction, concealed warning signs and multiple approach roads converging at one place.

“I am not surprised as I regularly see accidents occurring at Miyapur cross roads. Authorities are not doing anything to improve the condition,” said Ashish Yadav, a techie who travels from Banjara Hills to the financial district every day.

Strangely, road transport authorities have only zeroed in on the Uppal cross roads for junction improvement with a six lane bypass or an elevated corridor -as a long-term measure for addressing the problem. While the traffic police says nothing major is wrong with the other junctions, road transport authorities disagree and say that not five, but the city might have about 100 so-called ‘accident zones’, including 33 in Cyberabad alone.

“Uppal junction has improved and is no longer a major ‘black spot’, although we are taking measures to prevent accidents,” said Avinash Mohanty, Cyberabad CP (Traffic). “There are no major ‘black spots’ in our zo ne,” he added.

The city overall recorded 359 fatalities this year so far and left 2,316 injured in major road accidents in the city – figures which are quite high nationally.

In what comes as another blow to the state traffic department’s claims of better traffic management across the state, the ministry report also highlights how Telangana has the second largest number of ‘black spots’ in the country after Tamil Nadu.

While the state has 70 major black spots, Tamil Nadu has 103 out of the 409 such spots in the country.

However, Telangana RTA authorities have zeroed in on only 21 of these zones for ‘correction’ in the next one year.

Source: TOI-Hyd

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