By : Mohan Verma
Two more bodies of students from an engineering college in Hyderabad were recovered in the past 24 hours, taking the total number of bodies retrieved to 19, the police said on Thursday.
Five students and one tour operator are still missing and the search operation continued for the 18th day.
The bodies were identified as those of Nerudu Jagdish Mudiraj and P. Ridhima.
Both the bodies, in swollen conditions, were seen floating near the Pandoh dam, almost 15 km downstream from the accident spot, the police said.
While Mudiraj’s body was recovered on Thursday, Ridhima’s body was found on Wednesday.
Twenty-four students from the V.N.R. Vignana Jyothi Institute of Engineering and Technology were swept away on June 8 after water was released into the river without warning from nearby 126 MW Larji hydro power project.
The focus of the search operation is on the 15 km long downstream stretch of the river from the Larji project dam to the Pandoh dam.
The Himachal Pradesh High Court in Shimla on Wednesday 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 out of the total compensation, Rs. 2.5 lakh will be paid by the state-run Larji hydro power project, responsible for the release of the water into the river, while the college will pay the balance. The amount should be deposited by or before July 9, the next date of hearing.
A first information report has been registered under Sections 336 and 304-A of the Indian Penal Code.