Even as the Larji dam authroties claim of sounding alert before releasing the water, confusion still prevails in the areas adjoining the power project of whether the hooters were blown on Sunday- when the 24 students of Hyderabad-based VNR Vignana Jyothi Institute of Engineering and Technology were washed away at Thalout near Mandi.
Puran Chand who lives barely a kilometre from the Larji dam site said that he heard no sound of hooters on the fateful day before the project authorities released the water.
“No alert was sounded on the day when the incident took place. I live nearby and heard no sound of hooters. When the water is released in the evening, these hooters are occasionally used,” said Chand.
He, however, changed his statement immediately after an elder tried to stop him from giving any statement. He later said that he did not hail in the area and had come from Kullu district.
Some labourers working near the project also refused to speak on the issue. Though working on a damaged patch of a road, the labourers tired to mislead stating that they were waiting for a bus.
Upinder Kumar, a roadside vendor from Bihar, however, defended the project authorities. “Sir ji horn to baja tha (Sir, the hooters were blown),” said Kumar. “Usko bajaye bina to kisi ko paani chhodne ka adhikar hi nahi hai (Nobody deserves the right to release water without sounding an alert),” he said. Kumar has a vend 100 metres away the Larji dam.