High court rejects plea to modify compensation in Beas tragedy


By : Mohan Verma

Himachal Pradesh High Court on Wednesday rejected the plea of the Hyderabad-based engineering institute to modify its order of slapping interim compensation of Rs. 2,50,000 to each to the families of 24 students who were washed away in the Beas river last month.

High Court division bench comprising of Chief Justice Mansoor Ahmad Mir and Mr. Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan, which treated a media report into the incident as a public interest litigation, again directed the college management to refund the amount of tuition fee of the students within two weeks.

It also directed the insurance company, from which the college management got the students insured, to release the insured amount of Rs. 200,000 within two weeks.

The state electricity board, which was also directed by the court to pay an interim compensation of Rs. 250,000 to each of the families, informed the court that compensation amount was deposited by it.

But the court also directed the state government to file a fresh status report before next date of hearing, which is August 4.

The college management informed the court that it had secured personal accidental insurance of Rs. 200,000 for all 926 students of B.Tech.

The college has decided to refund the tuition fee paid by the students over two years approximately Rs. 174,050 and to repay any educational loan taken by the parents for education of the students, said the

Twenty-four students and one tour operator were swept away on June 8 near Mandi town after water from a nearby state-run hydropower project dam was released without warning. The students were on a tour to Manali.

The court in its last hearing on June 25 said, out 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.

“Keeping in view the fact that the parents have lost their sons/daughters, who were undergoing engineering course and were expected to be at least engineers, which is so painful and cannot be redressed by any relief, rather no substitute is available,” the bench had observed.

A first information report has been registered under Sections 336 and 304-A of the Indian Penal Code.

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ML Verma is a Senior journalist, with more than a decade of experience of active reporting for electronic media, news agencies and fast paced online media.

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