Himachal Court To Fix Responsibility For Beas River Tragedy

Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh High Court has fixed 9 December as the final date for decreeing on 8 June tragedy when 24 touring engineering students from a Hyderabad college and a tour operator were washed away by sudden rise in river water levels after a dam upstream opened gates, allegedly without much warnings, to prevent flooding and damage to an hydropower plant.

Beas Tragedy Search Operations / Photo: Courtesy Indian Express
Beas Tragedy Search Operations / File Photo: Courtesy Indian Express

The court of Chief Justice Mansoor Ahmad Mir and Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan today did framed three points for final disposal, which include: whether the investigations have rightly concluded or otherwise and whether the parents of the unfortunate students can lay a motion before the trail courts in terms of Section 173(8) of Criminal Procedure Code; whether a final award can be made by the High Court in the writ petition and what steps need to be taken to prevent such incidents in the future.

Following the tragedy, the Himachal Court on the basis of news reports had taken up the matter suo motto. The Court had also ordered immediate release of interim relief to parents of the victims.

On the evening of 8 June, students of VNR Vigyan Jyoti Institute of Engineering Hyderabad, out on a tour to Kullu-Manali, were caught unaware on Beas River bank, with some having climbed on boulders on the shallow side of the river, to take photographs, when water levels suddenly began to rise, giving most of them little chance to escape the fury.

The sudden rush of water was caused by opening of gates of Largi Dam that stores water to operate a 126 MW hydropower plant.

A videographer, who per chance happened to be perched on the highway overlooking the river, caught the tragedy live on his camera and the video on YouTube went viral, highlighting the need for regulating water flows in Himalayan Rivers where numerous dams have come up or are under construction.

The tragedy had also drawn a sharp comment from New York Times which had held an unholy nexus between corrupt officials and sand miners responsible for the incident in which precious 24 lives of budding engineers were snuffed out by a man made tragedy.

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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