The bodies of 5 engineering students were retrieved on Monday from the Beas river in Mandi, Himachal Pradesh, while a search is on for 21 others who were washed away. The toll in Sunday’s accident could rise as chances of recovering any survivor is bleak, Himachal Additional Deputy Commissioner Pankaj Rai said. At least 24 students, including six girls, of the institute and one tour operator were reported missing out of which five were dead. There was confusion, earlier in the day, on the number of bodies being recovered. The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) said in a statement that five bodies have been found, while state authorities said that four bodies were found.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu reviewed the situation. He directed cabinet minister-Narayana Group Chairman P. Narayana and IAS official Satish Chandra to go to Himachal to monitor rescue and relief work. More than 50 students and faculty members were on an excursion to Manali.
The Himachal Pradesh High Court said it was not only a case of callousness but a grave negligence. “It’s a sad tale by reason of the fact that sheer fun of the young students turned out to be fatal as a consequence of utter and callous negligence of the power project authorities,” Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan said, taking suo moto notice of the incident. He directed the state government to file a status report on the incident by June 16. He also directed the hydropower project authorities to take all remedial measures to avoid any mishap in future.Three officials of the Larji hydropower project, including the resident engineer, have been suspended. Officials in Shimla said that they are making arrangements to send back the remaining students to their native places.