A tragedy has brought out a competitive response from two new states. At least 24 students from a private engineering college from Hyderabad are feared drowned in the river Beas in Himachal Pradesh on Sunday evening.

The sight-seeing trip to Himachal Pradesh turned tragic for the tourists when the students, including some girls who were taking photographs at the banks of the river, were swept away by gushing waters of Beas as discharge of water suddenly increased following its release from the reservoir of 126 MW Larji hydropower project.

Reacting to the accident, the K Chandrasekhar Rao Government in Telangana has decided to send the Home Minister, Nayani Narasimha Reddy, to the site.

A special flight to take the parents of the students involved in the tragedy has been organised. Instructions have been given to the concerned to take them to the spot and also arrangements have been made at the Andhra Bhavan in New Delhi.

At the VNR Vigyan Jyothi Institute of Technology at Bachupally in Hyderabad (capital of Telangana State formed on June 2), anxious and agitated parents are demanding information from the management about the safety and whereabouts of their wards. The State Administration is grappling with the situation and has set up a helpline to get updated information.

The new Minister of AP, Narayana, who heads the Narayana group of institutes, and K Rammohan Rao, AP representative in Delhi, will take 46 parents by a special Air Costa flight to Chandigarh and from there by road to the place of accident.

Meanwhile, N Chandrababu Naidu, Chief Minister of new Andhra Pradesh, who was sworn in on Sunday night, has also instructed his officials to coordinate in helping the parents and in rescue operations. A special aircraft to take the parents to the spot and all possible assistance should be extended, he said, while expressing shock over the tragedy.

Top brass of the administration, including the chief secretary, director-general of police and others, have been summoned to hold a meeting to take suitable measures.

The two new states have Hyderabad as the joint capital. The respective administration is at present in full strength in the capital. The AP Bhavan in Delhi is still a neutral facility.

All these action comes even as the Centre has instructed the Himachal Government to take fast action and the State Government has launched rescue and relief action at the dam site, where tragedy struck an unwitting and picnic-bound students group.

Sudden release of water washed away the unlucky 24 in minutes. Worried parents and a jittery administration in HP are keeping their fingers crossed, hoping rescuers will find the survivors.

PTI reports:

Expressing her grave concern over the shocking incident, Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani today assured the State of all possible assistance from the Centre.

Irani assured the state Education Ministry, held by Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, “of all assistance and support required from the Centre”, a statement released by the HRD ministry said.

She also spoke to the faculty of the engineering college in Hyderabad who was accompanying the students.

The principal of the college was also assured of all cooperation to tackle the tragedy.

(This article was published on June 9, 2014)
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