Help Came Hours Later, Say Student Survivors of Beas River Tragedy

Help Came Hours Later, Say Student Survivors of Beas River Tragedy

The missing students were part of a 48-member sightseeing group from the VNR Vignan Jyothi Engineering College in Hyderabad.

Mandi, Himachal Pradesh:  Rescuers have recovered the bodies of five students from the River Beas in Himachal Pradesh who were swept away along with 19 classmates on Sunday evening in a sudden surge of water released from a dam.
  1. The students were all from an engineering college in Hyderabad. They were standing on the Beas river's edge on Sunday evening taking photographs when they were hit by a torrent of water.
  2. Today, soldiers, police and other rescue workers were seen combing the banks of the river, while others in kayaks were paddling slowly downstream, checking around boulders.
  3. Divers, special forces of the Army and two helicopters have also been pressed into service.
  4. A group of nearly 50 engineering students were travelling on buses to the tourist hill station of Manali when they stopped in the Kullu Valley, some 200 kilometres (130 miles) from state capital Shimla.
  5. The surge of water occurred when a hydroelectric power project opened its floodgates, sending tonnes of water downstream, officials have said.
  6. "It was not an accident, it was negligence. There was no warning or safety measure there," said K Kavitha, a parliamentarian from the TRS, the party that governs Telangana.
  7. Ravi Kumar, who survived the disaster, 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, an allegation repeated by other students.
  8. Angry locals say authorities had failed to issue a warning about the release of water from the dam. The additional district magistrate has, however, claimed that a siren went off before the dam water was released.
  9. Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh has ordered an inquiry to fix responsibility for the tragedy. Two senior engineers in charge of the Lajri dam have been suspended for alleged negligence.
  10. Himachal Pradesh and other Himalayan states including neighbouring Uttarakhand are home to a string of hydroelectric projects as India rushes to expand power generation to meet rising demand.

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