HC notice to Himachal on Beas tragedy

The Himachal Pradesh High Court on Tuesday took suo motu cognisance of the tragedy in the Beas river in Mandi district, where 24 students from a Hyderabad college were washed away in the river when a dam opened water flow. 

The court issued notices to the Himachal government for June 16, asking it to file a status report with special reference to the cause behind the incident and details of the steps taken with regard to relief and rescue operations.

Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan of the HP High Court said in his order: “Going by the contents of news items, it is a sad tale that sheer fun of young students turned fatal as a consequence of utter and callous negligence of power-project authorities In case the water was discharged without any warning as alleged, prima facie it is established that it is not only a case of callousness but a case of grave negligence on the part of the project authorities”. 

The order  further read: “It cannot even be called an error of judgment or accident inasmuch as it is the duty of the authorities to at least issue a warning and resort to usual and common methods of blaring siren to ensure evacuation of the riverbank before discharging the water. Therefore, the project authorities have prima facie displayed callous and wanton disregard towards their duties.”

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