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HindustanTimes Tue,16 Sep 2014

Eight from Himachal stranded in Iraq, CM sends SOS to Centre

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Shimla, June 19, 2014
First Published: 17:39 IST(19/6/2014) | Last Updated: 17:41 IST(19/6/2014)

Even as kin of persons stranded in war-torn Iraq are worried about the whereabouts of their near and dear, Himachal Pradesh government has decided to send an SOS to the centre for the safe evacuations of one dozen Himachalis.
 
Chief minister Virbhadra Singh on Thursday said that the government has so far learnt that about eight persons hailing from different parts of Himachal Pradesh have gone missing in Iraq.
 
"Right now the government does not know about the exact number of persons stuck in Iraq. But I have learnt from the media that eight persons from the state are stuck in Iraq," said chief minister Virbhadra Singh, adding that he would urge the central government to take appropriate steps to ensure the safe evacuation of persons stuck in Iraq.
 
"We are concerned about the safety of the all Himachalis employed in Iraq," said Virbhadra. He said the Iraqi government should ensure that those taken hostages by terrorist should be released at the earliest.
 
"I hope that the hostages are treated properly," he said.
 
Two youths from Dharamsala employed in Iraq have gone missing. It is believed that both have been taken hostages by the militants. The government has also asked the deputy commissioners to collect details if more persons from their districts were stranded in Iraq.
 
Meanwhile, the chief minister also assured that operations to trace the missing engineering students in the June 8 Beas tragedy would continue till all the bodies were traced. "Whatever happened on June 8 was very tragic. It appears that the bodies of missing engineering students have submerged in the silt. The bodies will float naturally after it gets bloated up," he said.
 
"The state government is doing whatever possible to trace the missing students," he said, adding that the government has already directed the management of the hydel projects to follow the safety norms while releasing water from the dams.
 
He, however, said it was not possible for the government to install alarm system along the river side. "We can only ensure that the alarm systems are put up near the dams and close to habitations along the river side."

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