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HindustanTimes Thu,25 Dec 2014

Floodgates opened on just a verbal order

Gaurav Bisht, Hindustan Times  Shimla, June 13, 2014
First Published: 01:19 IST(13/6/2014) | Last Updated: 01:21 IST(13/6/2014)

It took just a verbal order to cause untimely death of 24 engineering students at the Beas river four days back. In a shocking revelation, it has been confirmed that the order to open the floodgates of the 126-MW Larji project, operated by the Himachal Electricity Board, was given verbally.

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“It’s confirmed that water from the dam was released on verbal instructions,” principal secretary-multi power projects SKBS Negi told HT. Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board (HPSEB) had ordered an internal probe to ascertain the reason that cost lives of 24 students from VNR Vignan Jyothi engineering College, Hyderabad.

“We are probing whether the norms were followed,” said Negi adding that a detailed report will reveal that what went wrong and who were the culprits.

“There could have been an error of judgment in release of water as the dam had been brimming due to rapid melting of snow in the catchment area of Larji River,” he said.

Inquiries so far reveal that water was released from the reservoir of the parbati project that increased the water levels of the Larji dam.

“It’s not necessary to release water in case the power generation has to be stopped but at the same time safety of the dam is also important. Water is always released with advance planning in accordance with operative manual,” said HPSEB managing director Pratap Chand Negi.


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