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Five bodies of students recovered, rescue operations on

Mandi(HP) (PTI): Bodies of five engineering students from Hyderabad, who were washed away in the turbulent Beas River in Mandi district along with 20 others, were recovered today as Chief minister Virbhadra Singh ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident and suspension of the Resident Engineer of the Larji hydropower project.

Twenty-five students, who were taking photographs on the bank of Beas, were washed away last 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.

The rescue teams of SSB, assisted by police, Homeguard and local divers and rafters started search operations in the wee hours from Thalout to Pandoh dam.

Five bodies including that of three boys and two girls have been recovered, SSB officials at Control Room at Mandi said.

“The high discharge of water and shortage of boats is causing some problem but we have list of missing persons and hope to recover the bodies. Our jawans are moving in boats and strict vigil is being maintained along the banks of Beas and NDRF teams and divers from BBMB have also reached the spot,” the officials said.

The Home Ministry has sought a report from the state on the incident.

Taking serious note of the matter, the Chief minister has ordered a magisterial inquiry by Divisional commissioner, Mandi, to fix responsibility for the tragedy and suggest measure to stop recurrence of such incidents.

The Chief Minister has also ordered suspension of the Resident Engineer and a case has been registered against the staff for negligence and not forewarning the people before releasing water from the dam.

The Chief Minister has left for the spot along with Power minister Sujan Singh Pathania to supervise rescue operations while Union HRD minister Smriti Irani and Telangana Home Minister are expected to arrive in Kullu soon.

The discharge of water increased suddenly yesterday and caught everyone unawares as the Project authorities released the water apparently without any warning.

Enraged people blocked the national highway after the incident yesterday.

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