Rickshaw ride for injured Mukherjee | kolkata | Hindustan Times
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Rickshaw ride for injured Mukherjee

The external affairs minister who was badly injured in a highway accident in West Bengal, had to be taken to a nearby hospital in a rickshaw as no medical help was available.

kolkata Updated: Apr 09, 2007 15:05 IST

India's External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who was badly injured in a highway accident after a truck rammed into his car, had to be taken to a nearby hospital in a rickshaw as no medical help was immediately available.

Congress leader and Lok Sabha MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said: "There was no security arrangement on the road when the minister was passing through NH-34. After the accident, he was taken to the nearest block hospital by a rickshaw. What could be more shameful than this?"

The accident occurred on Saturday night in Nadia district when a stone chip-laden lorry swerved out of control after a tyre puncture and overturned on the bulletproof car in which Mukherjee was travelling with party leaders.

The accident also hurt Congress leader Manas Bhunya who was with Mukherjee.

The incident has embarrassed the Communist government in West Bengal since the provision of Z category security for VIPs must guard against such road mishaps. All vehicular movement on the road is generally brought under control 15 to 20 minutes before the VIP passes through a particular stretch, said senior police officials.

"Officials of respective police stations and the district headquarters are also put on alert about the movement of a VIP convoy. Police constables are deployed along the road to cordon off the route," a police officer said.

It is also a district administration's responsibility to provide emergency medical arrangements when a VIP enters their territory.

"It's quite impossible for any vehicle to break the Z category security breach and hit the VIP car," the officer said.

The Saturday accident, which caused head injuries to Mukherjee, has made the West Bengal administration sit up.

"The (truck) driver has been arrested. We have taken his statement," West Bengal Inspector General (law and order) Raj Kanojia told the agency.

"Generally, we arrange road lining and in some cases we do stop the road traffic. But since it was a highway stretch (National Highway-34), we could not stop the traffic movement," Kanojia said.

A few months ago, a car strayed into Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya's convoy near Park Circus in central Kolkata. The incident sparked a re-look at the chief minister's security arrangements.