Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh High Court on Wednesday ordered a compensation of Rs.500,000 each to the families of 24 students of a Hyderabad engineering college and a tour operator, who were swept away in Beas river.
A division bench of Chief Justice Mansoor Ahmad Mir and Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan, which treated a media report as a public interest litigation, also made it clear that a criminal probe into the matter would continue and it would monitor its progress.
The students and the tour operator were swept away June 8 after water from a nearby hydropower project dam was released without warning. The students were on a tour to Manali.
It said out of the total compensation, Rs.2.5 lakh will be paid by the Larji hydropower project, responsible for the release of the water into the river, while the college will pay the balance.
The interim order came after the state and the V.N.R. Vignana Jyothi Institute of Engineering and Technology filed a status report in connection with the case in the court on Tuesday.
The court also ordered that the officials of the Larji project, who were on duty when the tragedy occurred, and the college officials who accompanied the students would be made party to the case.
Besides, it asked the state government, the Larji authorities and the college management to submit a fresh status report by July 9, the next date of hearing.
The chief secretary, in his status report, informed the court that 17 bodies were recovered till June 22 and it has been decided to continue with the search operation till the remaining bodies are found.