Shimla: Even as the parents of more than twenty engineering students, who died at the River Beas in Himachal Pradesh, are still struggling to come to terms with the massive tragedy that has struck them, a shocking detail has come to the fore which has revealed that the order to open the floodgates of the 126 MW Larji project was given verbally.
Principal secretary, multi-power projects, SKBS Negi told a leading Daily that the water from the dam was released on verbal orders. He also said that it was being probed whether norms were followed and accepted that there could have been an error of judgement in the release of water. He also told the Daily that this could be as the dam was full due to melting of snow in the catchment area of River Larji.
The Larji project is operated by the Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board.
The HPSEB has ordered an internal probe to ascertain the facts which led to the untimely death of the students from VNR Vignan Jyothi Engineering College, Hyderabad.
As per details available till now, the water was released from the reservoir of the Parbati project. This increased the water levels of the Larji dam.
24 students plus one tour operator were washed away in the swirling waters which suddenly rose several feet on Sunday evening in river Beas near Thalot on Manali-Kiratpur Highway, 40 kms from Mandi. About 60 students and faculty members were on a tour to the state and were taking photos on the banks of Beas river when tragedy struck in a matter of couple of minutes.
The students were caught unawares by the sudden discharge of water in the river from the reservoir of 126 MW Larji project. Students who survived the harrowing experience said that there was no siren alert to warn them and that help also came hours later.
Meanwhile, search operation to trace 17 persons still missing resumed on its fifth day on Friday. So far the bodies of eight persons have been recovered.