Shimla: Not satisfied with the status report submitted by the government over the Beas tragedy, the HP High Court today directed Divisional Commissioner Mandi to conclude and submit an inquiry report by June 19 over opening of Larji dam gates that on the evening of June 8 washed away 24 engineering students from Hyderabad.
Before listing the matter for June 19, the division bench of Acting Chief Justice Mansoor Ahmad Mir and Justice Tarlok Chauhan directed that besides Divisional Commissioner Mandi, Managing Director HP State Electricity Board, Superintending Engineer (Generation) Larji Project and Resident Engineer Larji Power House to be present in court on the next hearing date.
The engineers have been directed to file a detailed report as to how they were manning the barrage / dam and what the mechanism and plan they were following before discharge or water.
The HP government told the court that Deputy Commissioner, Mandi, who visited the site of the accident has reported that no warning system whatsoever was found installed at the site and there were no notice boards carrying message of warning etc.
However, warning notice boards have been installed subsequently.
VNR Vigyan Jyoti Institute of Engineering and Technology, Hyderabad, whose 24 students were washed away after water levels suddenly rose in Beas River because of release of extra water from Larji dam, has also been impleaded as respondent to a petition taken up suo moto by the court.
After taking cognizance of the state government efforts to trace the bodies of students, the court expressed dis-satisfaction about the explanations offered in the status reports about the cause of accident saying, “but it leads to nowhere.”
The government status report also let the court know that the Larji barrage was at full reservoir level (969.50 meters) even prior to opening of the spill way gates on June 8.
At 6.15 p.m., the operating staff first opened Radial gate no 5 to 50 cm, released 50 cumecs of water, subsequently it was opened to 1.50 meters and then to 2.50 meters that increased water spillage to 150 cumecs.
“This apparently resulted in substantial increase in water flow, which led to washing away of students. However, the exact cause will be known from the enquiry ordered into the incident,” the government stated in court.
The government also let the court know about the relief and rescue operations carried out after the incident was reported.