Rs 5 lakh for families of Beas tragedy victims

Police told to file FIRs against 3 Larji dam project officials

Rs 5 lakh for families of  Beas tragedy victims

The Himachal Pradesh High Court on Wednesday ordered a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to each of the families of the 24 students of the Hyderabad based engineering college and a tour operator who drowned in the currents of the Beas river in Mandi district on June 8.

A division bench of Chief Justice Mansoor Ahmad Mir and Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan said the compensation will be paid in equal proportion by the VNR Vignana Jyothi Institute of Engineering and Technology, Hyderabad, and the Larji Hydropower Project authorities.

The police have been asked to file FIRs against three officials of Larji project for criminal negligence, besides an FIR against two employees of the engineering college. The court said, “We are conscious that money is not a substitute, but maybe just to ameliorate their pains and sufferings.”

The court ordered that the officials on duty at the Larji project dam on June 8 be made respondents and impleaded Himachal State Load Discharge Centre (SLDC) and Northern Region Load Discharge Centre (NRLDC) as party in the case.

The court, which gave this interim order on Wednesday after considering media reports on the tragedy as a PIL, has fixed July 9 as the next date of hearing.

The 24 students  and their tour operator were swept away in the Beas river on June 8 after huge quantity of water was released without a warning from the nearby hydropower project dam.

As many as 17 bodies have been recovered so far. The search operation will continue until all the bodies are recovered, the HP government informed the court in its status report.

The court said that till the investigation is taken to its logical end and the petition is disposed of, it deems proper to exercise inherent powers to grant interim relief to the parents.

It also said that the respondent managing director, superintendent engineer and resident engineer of the project and officials of the college have performed their duties negligently and because of their utter carelessness, callousness and negligence, 24 budding engineers have lost their lives.

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