Beas tragedy: Himachal CM says no to memorial

Shimla, June 24: Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh on Tuesday said there was no proposal to build a memorial for the 24 engineering students from Hyderabad who were drowned in the Beas river.

"What happened in the Beas river was gruesome. But such accidents have happened in the past also. There are so many road accidents also. We can't allow a memorial in every case. They can at the most put up a plaque," Virbhadra Singh told reporters here.

He said the government has gone out of the way to retrieve the bodies.

"Around 800 people, including divers, are continuously searching for bodies near the Pandoh dam," he said.

The chief minister was replying to a media query on Telangana Forest Minister Jogi Ramana's proposal to build a memorial at the accident spot.

Ramanna, who is camping in Mandi to oversee the search operation, Monday said that if Himachal Pradesh agreed to the proposal to build a memorial, his government would provide financial help.

Ramanna also said he would talk to the central government on this issue.

Virbhadra Singh, however, said the centre has no role in this regard.

The 24 students who drowned were from the V.N.R. Vignana Jyothi Institute of Engineering and Technology in Hyderabad and they were on an excursion to Manali.

The students and a tour operator were swept away after water from a nearby hydropower project dam was released without warning June 8.

The tragedy occurred when the students reached the river bed for a picture-postcard shoot with the gurgling river in the background. A sudden wall of water released into the river swept all of them away.


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