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HindustanTimes Fri,22 Aug 2014

Himachal tragedy: Hunt on for missing persons

PTI  Mandi, June 10, 2014
First Published: 16:50 IST(10/6/2014) | Last Updated: 22:49 IST(10/6/2014)

Rescuers on Tuesday made little headway in tracing 19 students of a Hyderabad-based engineering college and a tour guide who were washed away due to sudden discharge of water from the reservoir of Larji Hydropower Project.

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Bodies of five students including three girls and a boy were recovered on Monday by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams.

ALSO READ: Relief announced for kin of students washed away in Beas

A team comprising 84 NDRF men and 10 divers carried out a search operation in turbulent Beas River from the accident spot Thalaut and Pandoh Dam, Jaideep Singh, Commanding Officer, NDRF said.

A dozen boats, local divers and rafters also assisted the NDRF teams in the rescue operations.

The volume of water in Pandoh Dam was very high but the flood gates cannot be opened as there is a threat of the bodies being washed away, officials said.

Devesh Kumar, District Magistrate, Mandi said, "A system of protocol is already available to the dam authorities but I am sure that some deficiencies must be there... I would say that adequate number of signboards are a necessity on the stretches" where the accident took place.

Telangana Home Minister Nayani Narasimha Reddy said the families feel that the search should be carried out "deep".

READ: YSR Congress calls for improved rescue teams searching for survivors in Mandi

"Families argue that the search should be carried out deep. Collector and the administration people say it is not easy to carry deep search," Reddy said.

"Dam water was released without caution or siren. Children got into the river when the water was less. The water increased suddenly and washed them away," he said.

READ: RS expresses sorrow over drowning of 24 engg students

About 60 students and faculty members of the V.N.R. Vignana Jyothi Institute of Engineering and Technology in Hyderabad were on an excursion to Manali and 25 persons were washed away in flash floods following sudden release of water from reservoir of Larji hydropower project near Thalot on Sunday evening.

Himachal government has announced an immediate relief of Rs. 1.50 lakh to the next of kin of the engineering college students washed away.

"We have announced a compensation of Rs. 1.50 lakh to next of kin of each victim and also made arrangement for sending the bodies of the victims and also provide all possible help to the affected families", chief minister Virbhadra Singh told reporters.

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