Beas Tragedy: 4 more bodies recovered – Himachal draws rules for release of dam waters

Shimla: Recovery of 4 bodies of students who were washed away in Beas River 15 days ago has kept alive hopes of more bodies surfacing as the government under the courts roving eye draws up plans to put in place rules and regulations for releasing water from dams.

In the backwaters of Pandoh dam, today four bodies of the students from VNR Vignana Jyothi Institute of Engineering and Technology of Hyderabad were found floating.

“Out of the 25 people washed away, so far 17 have been recovered,” Devesh Kumar, deputy commissioner of Mandi said. The four bodies recovered today have been sent to Delhi, he added.

The bloated bodies, though have become difficult to identify, are said to be that of Berinani Ritvik, CH Paramveshwar, Muddipi Kiran Kumar and Mithapalli Akil. The true identity would need to be confirmed by the family members and the college authorities.

Taking stock of the Beas tragedy report submitted to HP High Court by Onkar Sharma, divisional commissioner Mandi that contained some recommendations, chief minister Virbhadra Singh on Saturday directed the chief secretary to take necessary action.

“The recovery and retrieval operation would continue till all bodies are found,” said the chief minister.

The court has taken suo motto notice of the tragedy and asked the government to file a status report.

The magisterial inquiry had established a systemic failure in releasing water from Largi dam on June 8 that caused the downstream water level to rise suddenly, sweeping away 24 students and one tour operator.

Inadequate warning systems, disconnect between engineering handling the power house operations and those stationed at the barrage, no standard procedures in place for water spillage were some of the faults picked up by Sharma in his report.

Not laying the entire blame on the Largi dam authorities, the inquiry report has also mentioned that the students were warned by locals not to go too close to the river bank as the water level does rise suddenly.

While the government is drawing up procedures and precautionary measures to prevent such tragedies, the court has asked the authorities to present a status report on 24 June.

Having observed it to be a case of negligence on various agencies, the judges have also served notice on the college authorities to detail as to who made the decision of allowing the students to visit the site.

As Editor, Ravinder Makhaik leads a team of media professionals at Hill Post. Spanning a career of over two decades in mass communication, as a Documentary Filmmaker, TV journalist, Print Media journalist and with Online & Social Media, he brings with him a vast experience. He lives in Shimla.

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