Mandi (Himachal Pradesh), June 30 :
One more swollen body of an engineering student from Hyderabad was Monday recovered from the Beas river near here 22 days after 24 students and a tour operator were washed away in a tragedy, police said.
The latest body was identified as that of M. Vishnu Vardhan Reddy. Four students and a tour operator still remain untraced.
Reddy’s body, in a badly decomposed state, was seen floating near the Pandoh dam, almost 15 km downstream from the accident site, police said.
Deputy Commissioner Devesh Kumar told IANS that the search continues for the remaining victims.
The students from the V.N.R. Vignana Jyothi Institute of Engineering and Technology, who were on a holiday trip to Manali, were swept away June 8. They were standing on the boulders in the river bed for a picture-postcard photo shoot when a strong current carried them away.
The Himachal Pradesh High Court June 25 ordered an interim compensation of Rs.5 lakh each to the families of the students.
A division bench of Chief Justice Mansoor Ahmad Mir and Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan, which treated a media report as a public interest litigation, also made it clear that a criminal probe into the matter would continue and it would monitor its progress.
It said that of the total compensation, Rs.2.5 lakh will be paid by the state-run Larji hydropower project, responsible for the release of the water into the river, while the college will pay the balance. The amount should be deposited on or before July 9, the next date of hearing.
In an inquiry report, Divisional Commissioner Onkar Sharma informed the court that there was a systemic failure in releasing water into the river by the Largi project authorities – and the warning system itself was inadequate.
A case has been registered under charges of endangering life or personal safety of others and causing death by negligence against the Largi authorities.