Slamming the Himachal Pradesh government over clean chit to Larji hydro project staff on Beas River tragedy which claimed lives of two dozen Hyderabad students, veteran BJP leader and Kangra MP Shanta Kumar on Wednesday termed the incident 'murder' of 24 innocent children.
“It's not a tragedy, its murder. This is what we say culpable homicide amounting to murder or causing death by negligence. It is not less the murder,” said Shanta, demanding that all the accused in the incident be brought to book and criminal proceedings be initiated against them.
“Surprisingly those who were responsible for death of the students have been given clean chit even before the completion of inquiry. Is there no value of 24 lives,” he added. Shanta said if there were no lapses in water release how the students were swept away in the river.
He said had the administration taken some preventive measures, like fencing the dangerous spots, warning boards and sounding an alert in the downstream, the incident could have been avoided.
Shanta said the incident had already brought the bad name to the state and government's move to give clean chit to the culprits would affect the hospitality industry in Himachal which has already been hit by such incident.
At least 24 students of Hyderabad-based VNR Vignana Jyothi Insitute of Engineering and Technology were swept away in gushing water of Beas River after sudden release of water from Larji reservoir on June 8.
It is worth mentioning that the Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board, in its internal probe into the incident, has given clean chit to the Larji project staff.
The probe panel had cited the reason the orders from the state load dispatch centre to scale down the power production and increased inflow which could have damaged the dam.
However the inquiry has not touched the key issue as to why the independent power producers (IPPs) were not touched in verbal order to lower the production.
Divisional Commissioner, Mandi, Onkar Sharma has yet to complete the main inquiry ordered by the state government into the incident.
Meanwhile, the veteran leader said similarly there had been frequent bus accidents in Himachal but the government has learnt no lesson.
“The government constitutes inquiry panels after every such incident, but the reports are often thrown into dustbin,” said Shanta, adding that government should set some rules for road safety by taking into confidence the opposition party and these should be implemented strictly.