The National Human Rights Commission has issued notices to the government of Himachal Pradesh, calling on them to file a report on the drowning of 26 students of a Hyderabad college on the banks of river Beas.
Media reports on the government’s dealing with the disaster exposed their lack of a contingency plan and preparedness for any disaster — natural or man-made.
Survivors said that they waited for hours before anyone from the local administration came to help them. Official sources said the two teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), comprising deep water divers, were rushed to the spot only after a directive from Union home minister Rajnath Singh. There was no early warning system before releasing excess water, they added.
Acting on these reports, the NHRC issued notices to the state chief secretary and the deputy commissioner, Mandi calling for a report in the matter within two weeks.
Over 26 B Tech students of VNR Vignana Jyothi Institute of Engineering and Technology, Hyderabad on a trip to Himachal Pradesh, were drowned in a flash flood in river Beas at Mandi on 8 June, 2014.
The cause of the flash flood was stated to be the opening of the flood gate of the Larji Hydel Project’s dam without warning. The toll could rise as rescue operations were hampered by non-availability of search lights and divers.