Tardy officials add to kins' sufferings

Tardy officials add to kins' sufferings

Tragedy at Beas: Authorities leave parents, students in the dark

Tardy officials add to kins' sufferings

Even as search is on for the students who were washed away in Beas, their parents and kin were made to suffer greater pain at the hands of insensitive officials at different levels. 

The 24 students of second year B.Tech (Instrumentation) at VNR-VJIT college were part of the 45-member group on an industrial tour from June 3 and were supposed to complete the tour by June 14.

Their travails began immediately after some of the students called up to inform that their loved ones were washed away and chances of seeing them alive are almost nil. 

“Ashish lost his father six months ago and his elder brother is in the USA. He is the one who called us in the first place, no one from the college informed us,” said Murthy, a close relative. 

Unable to bear the pain of losing her son, Ashish’s mother, who was crying inconsolably from Monday night, fell unconscious.

While parents of some victims left for Chandigarh on their own, kin of some others were personally assured by VNR college management and the Telangana government that a special flight will be arranged to take them to Himachal Pradesh. 

“To our shock, there was not even a single soul from the college or government at the Shamshabad airport at 4 am,” said N Mallesh, father of one of the victims. After hours of waiting for the flight, a few students and parents sat on a dharna on the airport premises shouting slogans against the government. 

They also gheraoed Telangana Home Minister Nayani Narsimha Reddy, who, along with the Greyhounds chief Karthikeyan, was rushing to catch a flight to Chandigarh to reach the spot and supervise rescue operations. At the VNR college campus in Bachupally, there were similar protests. 

“We came in the night after knowing about the incident. There is no one other than a security guard here, he doesn’t know anything. How can a college send students on industrial tour and let them wander into a dangerous situation,” said an exhausted maternal uncle of Basawaraj Sandeep, one of the missing students. 

However, the steady stream of parents and media forced the college management to convene a press conference and declare that it was an accident and the three teaching staff accompanying the exuberant students actually tried to stop them from entering the water.

“We have taken written consent from all the parents and insured each one of the students,” college spokesperson Gopal Reddy said.

Political hijack

As the extent of the tragedy started unfolding, the Telangana government realised that it must arrange transport of kin of the victims to identify the dead and also to restrict the growing unrest at the airport. 

Even before the government could respond, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu who earlier successfully ran parallel and efficient operations during Uttarakhand flash floods, announced a special Air Costa flight, which could carry around 60 people to Chandigarh. 

Dr Narayana, a minister in the Naidu cabinet, who runs the Narayana group of institutions, accompanied the family members. Two buses were kept ready in Chandigarh to take them to Kulu.

Even before the TDP could arrange a flight the Telangana government officials took 15 family members along with them in a regular Air India flight.Those feared dead

Three of the five bodies recovered on Tuesday have been identified. In all, 24 students were feared dead and they include: Devashish, Ashish, Ritwik, Laxmi Gayatri, Srinidhi, Upender, Paramesh, Tarun, Jagadeesh, Sairaj, Vishnuvardhan Reddy, Iswarya, Siva, Rishitha, Ridhima, Vijetha, Sri Harsha, B Sandeep, Aravind, Macharla Akhil, Mettapaalli Akhil, Rambabu, Sabir and Kiran. 

Meanwhile, another batch of 77 students of CSE/Mechanical branch, who were also on a similar tour to Delhi and HP, were asked to return from Delhi at once by the college authorities.