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HindustanTimes Sat,29 Nov 2014

Cosmetic changes on ground, so far

Gaurav Bisht and Roop Upadhyay , Hindustan Times  Shimla/Mandi, July 08, 2014
First Published: 10:43 IST(8/7/2014) | Last Updated: 11:24 IST(8/7/2014)

Even as the kin of the victims find it difficult to overcome the trauma after 24 students of a Hyderabad engineering college were swept away in the Beas River a month ago on June 8, there have been only cosmetic changes on the ground.

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What has raised the hackles is a series of inquiries set up by the state government and their findings giving clean chit to the officials who were responsible for the tragedy that shook the nation.

Even as the search continues in the Beas river for the missing engineering students of the Hyderabad-based VNR Vignana Jyothi Institute of Engineering and Technology, a fresh government probe has given a clean chit to State Load Dispatch Centre working under the ambit of Himachal Pradesh Electricity Board (HPSEB), which had ordered the management of 126 -megawatt (MW) Larji dam officials to close down generation.

The fresh report is seen as a cover-up exercise to save the guilty, like an internal probe by the HPSEB. The probe has raised more questions than it has answered on the “selective shutdown” ordered by the SLDC of its three major power projects, while private power projects were allowed to run on more than their installed capacity on June 8. A separate inquiry conducted by Mandi divisional commissioner Onkar Sharma had raised question over the SLDC’s asking the authorities of government-owned power projects, including Larji, to reduce generation while allowing the private projects to run at full installed capacity.

However, after the tragedy struck, new caution signboards appeared overnight after the authorities were blamed for what had happened.

The link roads built illegally by the sand mafia have also been fenced with barbed wires. Still, there has been no inquiry into the alleged complicity between the dam authorities and the sand mafia. Meanwhile, the Larji dam authorities have now installed new warning sirens at the site, besides a public-address system to alert people before the release of water from the dam.

However, many suggestions in the inquiry report submitted by the divisional commissioner are yet to be implemented.

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