File Photo - Jitender Gupta
Himachal Tragedy: Telangana Home Min, Police Leave for HP

Telangana Home Minister Naini Narsimha Reddy and government officials along with a police team today left for Himachal Pradesh 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 45 members each have been dispatched to the site of the accident to help local authorities in relief and rescue operations, according to a senior official of the 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 HP 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 held last 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 HP government.

In a related development, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu today held a review meeting here over the incident and directed the officials to arrange a special flight to Chandigarh for flying parents of the students. The parents will be taken to HP by road from Chandigarh.

24 students who were taking photographs on the bank of the river Beas near Thalot on the Manali-Kiratpur Highway, 40 kms from Mandi, were washed away last evening when the level of water in the river suddenly increased due to the release of water from the reservoir of the 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 HP and bring them back to Hyderabad along with the survivors and those who are stranded.

The state government will bear all the expenses for hiring the air services, the release said.

Meanwhile, the 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.

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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