Telangana Home Minister Naini Narsimha Reddy and government officials along with a police team left for Himachal Pradesh on Monday in the wake of 25 engineering students from the city being washed away in the Beas river in the hill state. Two teams of NDRF comprising of 45 members each have been dispatched to the mishap site to help local authorities in relief and rescue operations, according to a senior official of NDRF.
Earlier, as the Home Minister reached the airport, some parents of the students tried to gherao him demanding he provide information about their kin. They alleged that the government had not responded properly to the incident despite getting information from Himachal Pradesh about the mishap. They sought to know what measures the government had taken to locate/trace the missing students and alleged that no proper communication was provided to them about the incident.
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, after a Cabinet meeting which was held on Sunday night, had directed that the Home Minister along with a team of senior government officials visit the spot. The Chief Minister had also directed Chief Secretary Rajiv Sharma to be in touch with his counterpart in Himachal Pradesh to expedite rescue operations. He also instructed the Resident Commissioner of Telangana in New Delhi to coordinate with the Himachal Pradesh government.
In a related development, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu held a review meeting on Monday in Hyderabad over the incident and directed the officials to arrange a special flight upto Chandigarh for taking parents of the students. The parents will be taken to Himachal Pradesh by road from Chandigarh.
25 students, who were taking photographs on the bank of river Beas near Thalot on Manali-Kiratpur Highway, 40 kms from Mandi, were washed away on Sunday evening when the discharge of water in the river suddenly increased due to release of water from the reservoir of 126 MW Larji hydropower project.
Meanwhile, 15 parents and relatives of students were taken to Delhi by the Telangana government by an Air India flight. From Delhi, the parents will be taken to Chandigarh and subsequently to Kullu.
According to an official release, Telanana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao spoke to his counterpart Virbhadra Singh and requested him to take immediate relief measures. The state government has already requisitioned the Defence Ministry for helicopter and aircraft for Chandigarh and thereafter to the mishap spot in Kullu and bring the bodies back to Delhi and thereafter to Hyderabad, the release said.
Air Costa airline has also been asked to take parents to Himachal Pradesh and bring them back to Hyderabad along with the survivors and those who are stranded. The state government will bear all the expenditure for hiring the air services, the release said. Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh government today said state minister P Narayana, representative of AP government K Rammohan Rao along with some parents of the students had left Chandigarh in a special flight from where they will proceed by road to the accident spot. The team is entrusted with the job of bringing the bodies of the deceased students, besides bringing back those who survived, according to a release issued by the Andhra Pradesh government.