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Hyderabad engineering students had no warning of gushing waters Hyderabad engineering students had no warning of gushing waters

Jun-10-2014 | 0 Comments


SHALANALA (MANDI)/SHIMLA: One day after a wall of water swept away and killed 24 Hyderabad engineering students on a hill tour, Himachal authorities on Monday suspended three officers of the Larji dam project from where the floodgates were opened, catching the sightseers on the Beas riverbank off-guard.

As evidence mounted, along with anger and grief, over callousness being the main cause of the deaths, Himachal chief minister Virbhadra Singh ordered a high-level probe and vowed to punish officials who had turned the faucets to release water. The three project officials suspended for negligence were resident engineer Mandeep Singh, executive engineer MS Dadwalia and operator Harwansh Lal of Larji Hydroelectric projects.

The rulebook says dam authorities must inform the state and the local administration on when water is being released so that people downstream can be alerted about the rise in water levels. But Mandi deputy commissioner Devesh Kumar said, "I did not receive any phone call from the authorities and I have no idea if they sent a written communique."
With survivors from VNR Vignana Jyothi Engineering Institute and locals in the Mandi area accusing Larji project officials of releasing 250 cumecs of water without proper warning on Sunday, knowing full-well that crowds throng the banks in the peak tourist season, dam authorities rejected charges of negligence, saying they were within their rights to release waters in a hurry. Dam officers, who did not want to be named, claimed they had sounded the mandatory hooters in time. Angry locals, however, said the hooter was sounded after the accident as a face-saver.
The spot, about 35km from Kullu, from where the 24 engineering students of Hyderabad were swept away by the swelling Beas is known for its scenic beauty and regularly draws tourists to the edge of the water. It is for this reason that the dam authorities should have been extra careful, say locals.

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