At least 24 students from Hyderabad are feared drowned in the river Beas while on an excursion trip at Thalaut, around 40km from district headquarters Mandi.
In all, 38 students from VNR Vignana Jyothi Institute of Engineering and Technology were at the riverbanks, clicking photographs of their summer sojourn, when the level rose after water was released from the Larji hydel power project around 2km away. Eighteen boys and six girls — in their late teens or early 20s — were reported missing.
Villagers from Thalaut and surrounding areas put up a traffic blockade in protest, accusing the project authority of releasing water without warning. This led to a traffic jam and also delayed the rescue work, said sources.
Additional deputy commissioner Pankaj Roi told HT that rescue teams from Mandi and Kullu had reached the spot.