The seven trekkers, who have gone missing in the Parvati Valley of Kullu district on a private trekking trip, are final year BTech students of students of Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering and Technology (SLIET) in Longowal, about 25 km from Sangrur.
The students had embarked on the trek with a former student of SLIET hailing from Kullu, who is not a professional trekker, on March 8. The group lost contact with the Kullu police on Friday afternoon and the Kullu district administration learnt about their going missing when Kullu youth’s family approached it on Friday.
On Saturday, the Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering and Technology (SLIET) authorities confirmed that eight students were absent from the hostel number 3 since Tuesday. Seven of them were on the trek.
Reiterating that the trip had not been organised by the institute, dean Ajat Shatru said that the seven were final year BTech students. He identified them as Hitendra Kumar of the computer science department, Chetan pursuing graduation in information technology (GIT), Saurav (GIT), Rohit (GIT), Akshay (GIT), Ankush (GIT) and Anil, who is studying instrumentation.
Weather impeding rescue
The dean said that the Kullu police had informed him that the footprints of the students had been sighted. However, due to heavy rain in the region, rescue had been hit. The police, he said, would try to find the students with the help of helicopters once the weather cleared.
Second rescue team with doctors sent
Though no parent has come forward to lodge the complaint about their missing child, the Kullu district administration sent a second rescue team, comprising 15 members that includes doctors, on Saturday morning to locate the students who lost their way while trekking near Chanderkhani Pass at Malana, 65 km from Kullu.
Kullu superintendent of police Kullu Padam Chand told Hindustan Times that he had not received any update from the first 11-member rescue team sent on Friday. The inclement weather and high altitude was making it difficult to intensify the search.
Ex-SLIET student not professional trekker
Kullu deputy commissioner Hans Raj Chauhan said, “Bharat Prakash Kayastha, the youth leading the students, is not a professional trekker. He is a former student of SLIET. Despite the bad weather, we are hopeful that the trekkers will be located soon”.
He said the district administration was considering seeking the help of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) if the rescue teams failed to locate them till Saturday evening.
Bharat Prakash’s mother Jalpa Kayastha said, “My son was a student of SLIET till six months back. On March 8, his juniors called him up, seeking help for a trekking expedition to Bijli Mahadev. On Friday morning, we learnt that they were trapped near Chanderkhani Pass when my son Prakash contacted his brother seeking help of a helicopter to rescue them.”
The family immediately informed the police, which swung into action. “However since then there has been no contact with my son. None of the parents of his friends on the trek have contacted me yet,” she added.