Shimla: Himachal Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh on Thursday said the state government was making all efforts to recover the bodies of students and a tour operator who were washed away in Beas river near Thalot in Mandi on June 8 and two more bodies have been found.
"Search work had been speeded up and two more bodies were recovered this morning. About 500 personnel including police, home guards, SSB, ITBP, NDRF alongwith local divers had been pressed into search operation and Navy divers have also joined the operation from today," Singh said.
On receiving information about mishap, district administration, police personnel reached the spot and started the rescue operations immediately, Singh said, adding he had personally visited the spot alongwith his two senior cabinet colleagues and took stock of the situation and gave necessary directions.
The entire operation was being monitored by himself and G S Bali, Technical Education Minister had been given the responsibility of supervising the search and relief work, he said during an informal talks with reporters.
He said that state government was providing Rs 1.50 lakh each to the next of kins of the deceased.
Singh also said that locals had advised the students not to venture in the Beas river as water flow rise steeply with the outlet from the dam in the evening time due to the melting of glaciers, but the students ignored the warning and entered into the river for photography.
The locals also warned when the water level started going up but the students failed to understand the gravity of the situation.
Chief Minister said that State Government made?proper boarding and lodging arrangements for students and also the parents of missing students and made arrangements for their return journey.
He said Himachal Pradesh being a hilly state and tough topography, state government was coming up a comprehensive plan to avert such incidents.
Besides putting up proper warning boards, the sensitive areas were being covered with barbed wire.
Singh had issued directions to managements of all dam projects to follow necessary procedure before releasing the water, including the use of hooters and announcements through vehicles.
The Deputy Commissioners of Kullu and Mandi had been asked to remove the unauthorised tourism and commercial activities along the river banks besides closing the unauthorised approached to river banks, he said, adding the road leading to the mishap spot at Thalot would be closed by barbed wire and plantation would be done on that site.
He also asked not to politicise the accident and refrained media from exaggerating the situation.