Rescue teams today fished out the body of a student from the Beas River and intensified the hunt for 19 others missing even as a case of negligence has been registered against authorities of the Larji Hydropower project in connection with the incident.
The body was recovered from Beas River near Hanogi, raising the total number of bodies recovered so far to six, Indo-Tibetan Border Police Commandant Lakshman said. The victim has been identified as MD Shabir Hussain Shaik and identification of the body was done by his mother Ayisha Begum, who was camping at Kullu.
Swinging into action, police has registered a case against authorities of the power project. SP Mandi RS Negi said that a case under sections 336 (act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 304-A (causing death by negligence) of the IPC has been registered against the authorities of Larji project.
The FIR against the project authorities was registered by A Aditya, a teacher accompanying the students. Rescuers, meanwhile, continued to search for the 19 missing persons including 18 students of a Hyderabad-based institute who were washed away by the waters of the Beas on Sunday. "Intensive search operation are on along 20 km stretch of river Beas from Thalot (the accident spot) to Pandoh Dam but the river is full of boulders and silt level is high.The bodies are either trapped under boulders or sunk in the silt and we are searching every boulder," Jaideep Singh, commanding officer NDRF, said.
A team of 84 people, comprising 20 NDRF divers, assisted by 18 divers of the army are searching the bodies and chances of the bodies flowing downstream Pandoh Dam are very dim. The search teams are expecting the swollen bodies to surface by tomorrow but chances of survival of the missing persons are nil. Four bodies recovered on Monday were flown to Hyderabad and cremated yesterday while the fifth body of Devashish Bose was flown to Hyderabad yesterday evening.
Officials said that Beas being a snowfed river, the water level increases as the day advances and reaches its peak at night. However, the discharge of water is minimum during the morning hours and search operations are comparatively easy.
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh has directed the state power department to take extra precaution while discharging water from the dam. He said fencing on a two-three km stretch would be done at all dams besides other sensitive and dangerous zones and proper sign boards would be displayed to alert the people.
Telangana Home Minister Nayani Narasimha Reddy, who is camping in Mandi for the past two days along with parents and families of the missing students, blamed the project authority for the mishap and said action would be taken against all those found guilty including the college management. The Telangana government has sought the help of the Army for speeding up the search operations.
Reddy, who is camping in Mandi along with parents of missing children, said, "Our leader Jitendra Reddy met Home Minister Rajnath Singh today and urged that at least 500 army men be put on the job to speed up the search operations." "Our leaders told the home minister that the state government and NDRF are doing their best but Army assistance would speed up the search operations. The parents of the missing children are getting restive and search operations should be intensified with involvement of rescue teams of the army," he said.
Reddy said the Telangana government has also written to the Defence Ministry seeking Army help. The students of a Hyderabad-based engineering college were on a tour when the tragedy struck on Sunday.