Zee Media Bureau/Ritesh K Srivastava
Shimla: Eleven days after 24 engineering students were washed away in the turbulent waters of river Beas, an internal inquiry conducted by Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board Ltd (HPSEBL) has given a clean chit to Lajrji hydro-project officials, who had allegedly released more water from the dam without a warning.
The panel said in its report that the Larji dam officials followed the required protocol properly.
On June 8, 24 engineering students from Hyderabad and their tour guide were washed away after water was released from the Larji dam.
The inquiry report is based on records available at the project site, besides statements of local people and employees and officials of Larji project, a senior official was quoted as saying.
"The report submitted to HPSEBL Managing Director PC Negi concluded that officials at Larji project, after receiving the information to down the load, had followed all required procedures. The report said that after the message was received to reduce the load, the level of barrage was checked to confirm whether water release is needed or not," he said.
A four-member inquiry committee claimed that 2820 cumecs of water was released between 1 am and 7.30 pm in 29 intervals on June 8 which washed away 24 engineering students.
However, the internal inquiry report has not answered as to why independent power producers (IPPs) such as 100 mw Karcham Wangtoo, 1500 mw NJPC, 192 Allain and Duhangan, Malana and others were allowed to run more than 10-15 percent of their installed capacity.
Mandi Divisional Commissioner Onkar Sharma is yet to complete the main inquiry ordered by the state government into the incident.
The dam had already released 1950 cumecs of water between 1 am and 5 pm on June 8, revealed HPSEB findings. The Larji scaled down production from 138 mw to 32 mw and 870 cumecs of water was released between 6 pm and 7 pm on June 8 when the ill-fated 24 students were washed away”.
The inquiry report has cited the Logsheet maintained by the operating staff of the Larji barrage on the released quantities of water in 29 intervals.
But it was 450 cumecs of water released at 7 pm on June 8 that washed away the students at Shala Nala in the Beas where they were taking pictures. The Larji barrage released 100 cumecs of water at 7.30 pm, revealed the inquiry.
“It was found that the water was not released suddenly that day”, said PC Negi, MD, HPSEB.
Negi also informed that the internal inquiry report is being submitted to the state government for action.
Meanwhile, the rescuers today recovered two more bodies, taking the total number of bodies recovered so far to ten, and continued search for 15 others despite rough weather conditions.