Anxious parents of engineering students missing in Himachal gathered at VNR college, near Hyderabad, even as the management promised to take them in a special flight. Relatives of some students sat on protest at the college premises at Bachupalli on the outskirts of Hyderabad, alleging negligence in providing them information.
The parents entered into heated arguments with the college officials, demanding immediate action to fly them to Himachal Pradesh. There was confusion 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.
The accident spot is located some 200 km from Himachal capital Shimla and on the border of Kullu and Mandi districts. "The government will make necessary arrangements to take parents of the missing children to Himachal Pradesh. We will also arrange a flight to bring the bodies of the students," Information Technology Minister K. Tarakarama Rao said in Hyderabad. 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. Ravi Kumar, a survivor while recounting the horror, said: "The water level suddenly rose to five or six feet and the students who were close to the river were washed away." He said no help came from the district administration for hours.
"If the administration had reacted immediately, 10 to 15 lives could have been saved," an emotional Ravi Kumar said. "Before going into the water, we asked the locals and they said you could go. When the disaster occurred, rather than helping us, they started shouting at us," he added. Aditya, who was able to save himself, said darkness hampered search operations. (IANS)