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Himachal tragedy: Case against project authorities, search on

Mandi: A case of negligence has been registered against authorities of the Larji Hydropower project here even as rescuers today negotiated through huge boulders and high level of silt to trace 19 engineering students and a tour guide who were washed away in the turbulent waters of the Beas River.

SP Mandi RS Negi today said that a case under sections 336 (act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 304-A (causing death by negligence) of the IPC has been registered against the authorities of Larji project.

The FIR against the project authorities was registered by A Aditya, a teacher accompanying the students. The hunt for the missing students of a Hyderabad-based college, meanwhile, made little headway. During two days of intensive search only bodies of three girls and two boys have been recovered and remaining 20 bodies are still missing.

Also read: Himachal tragedy: Five bodies recovered, students blame state

Mandi
Indian rescue personnel gather on the banks of the Beas River during a search operation in Kullu

"Intensive search operation are on along 20 km stretch of river Beas from Thalot (the accident spot) to Pandoh Dam but the river is full of boulders and silt level is high.The bodies are either trapped under boulders or sunk in the silt and we are searching every boulder," Jaideep Singh, commanding officer NDRF, said.

A team of 84 people, comprising 20 NDRF divers, assisted by 18 divers of the army are searching the bodies and chances of the bodies flowing downstream Pandoh Dam are very dim. The search teams are expecting the swollen bodies to surface by tomorrow but chances of survival of the missing persons are nil. Four bodies recovered on Monday were flown to Hyderabad and cremated yesterday while the fifth body of Devashish Bose was flown to Hyderabad yesterday evening.

Officials said that Beas being a snowfed river, the water level increases as the day advances and reaches its peak at night. However, the discharge of water is minimum during the morning hours and search operations are comparatively easy.

Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh had announced a compensation of Rs.1.50 lakh to the next of kin of each victims and also directed the state power department to take extra precaution while discharging water from the dam. He said fencing on a two-three km stretch would be done at all dams besides other sensitive and dangerous zones and proper sign boards would be displayed to alert the people.

Telangana Home Minister Nayani Narasimha Reddy, who is camping in Mandi for the past two days along with parents and families of the missing students, blamed the project authority for the mishap and said action would be taken against all those found guilty including the college management.

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