Police on Friday arrested BJP lawmaker Hema Malini’s driver, a day after her Mercedes collided with a Maruti Alto in Rajasthan killing a two-year-old girl and leaving the actor and four others injured.

    He was produced in court and later granted bail. Officials said Uttar Pradesh resident Mahesh Thakur, the accused, was facing charges of culpable homicide and causing death by negligence.

    Television footage showed Mathura MP Hema Malini walking away from the spot with blood dripping down her face following the crash on National Highway 11 near Dausa district in the western state.

    The incident brought the spotlight back on India’s dangerous roads where about 200,000 people die every year in traffic accidents, according to WHO data. Last year, Hema Malini’s party colleague Gopinath Munde was killed in a car crash in Delhi nearly a week after the 64-year-old took office as the country’s rural affairs minister.

    While the infant travelling in the Maruti hatchback reportedly died on the spot, her parents, a four-year-old brother and an aunt are undergoing treatment at a government hospital in Jaipur.

    Hema Malini, who was in the back seat of the Mercedes, was admitted to a private medical centre with a nasal fracture and injuries to her forehead, cheeks and legs.

    “A surgery of debridement (removal of damaged tissues) and repair of lacerated wounds was carried out post-midnight,” said Pratim Tambole, facility director at the Fortis hospital. “It was a two-hour long process under general anaesthesia. She is now in post-operative intensive care unit.”

    The 66-year-old actor was going to Jaipur after visiting a temple in Rajasthan’s Karauli district when her car crashed into the Maruti Alto carrying the family headed to Lalsot city.

    Read: After criticism, Hema Malini expresses sorrow over child's death

    Car crash victims protest 'lavish attention' to Hema Malini

Mehrauli lake chokes on garbage

  • Nivedita Khandekar, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • |
  • Updated: Oct 29, 2012 02:36 IST

Nanak Chand, a Mehrauli resident, looks intently at the setting sun over the Shamsi Talab. "The lake is full of hyacinth and the water is contaminated with sewerage," Chand, who visits the place almost daily, said.

Prabhu Dayal, another resident, pointed out the garbage strewn along the approach road and in the park right next to the lake and adjacent to the

Lodhi-era built Jahaz Mahal. "Also, look at the garbage dumped on the northern side of the lake," 70-year-old Dayal said, pained at the deterioration of the more than 750-year-old water body.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2012/10/29-10-12-pg06a.jpg

Hauz-i-Shamshi, popular locally as the Shamsi Talab, was earlier spread over 100 hectares. Over the years, not only has the lake shrunk, but its catchment area too has seen construction.

The stage for the cultural programmes during the

festival Phool Walon Ki Sair rests on the southern face of the Jahaz Mahal while the audience sits at the civic body's ground in front of it. Both the lake and Jahaz Mahal are under Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) while the ground belongs to the civic body.

Usha Kumar from the Anjuman Sair-e-Gul Faroshan, organiser of the Phool Walon Ki Sair, said, "The lake is sacred to Muslims as many believe that it has the print of the hoof mark of the Prophet's horse. But today, sewerage from surrounding areas is being dumped into it."

But Pushpa Singh, the Mehrauli councillor, defended herself: "The condition of the lake has improved quite a bit after we shifted the drain pipes that brought in sewerage from neighbouring colonies."

Prompted by a court case by NGO Tapas for saving Delhi's lakes and water bodies, the court orders ensured that Shamsi Talab was cleaned at least 3-4 times in the past decade. The order also ensured that a boundary wall with a grille was constructed around the lake. "But water hyacinth can be found only when there is sewerage in the water," pointed out Tapas's Vinod Jain.

"Water hyacinth is cleared away after monsoon. The sewerage running into the lake is a thing of the past now. But we will need to investigate the matter if someone is pushing it in through an underground pipe," said a senior ASI official.

The Mehrauli councillor added: "We have even deployed a guard to stop people from throwing garbage but it is difficult to keep a check at all times. People dump garbage at night."

The Jahaz Mahal is fairly maintained, Kumar said, adding, "(But) the burjis (chhatris atop) are in a precarious condition and need strengthening."

 

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