Beas Tragedy: Court Says No to College's Plea on Compensation
SHIMLA: The Himachal Pradesh High Court Wednesday turned down a plea of the Hyderabad-based engineering institute to modify or recall its order to pay an interim compensation of Rs.2.5 lakh to the families of the 24 students each who were washed away in the Beas river last month.
A division bench of Chief Justice Mansoor Ahmad Mir and Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan, which treated a media report as a public interest litigation, 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.2 lakh within two weeks.
The state electricity board, which was also directed by the court to pay an interim compensation of Rs.2.5 lakh to each of the families, informed the court that the compensation amount has been deposited by it.
The court also directed the state government to file a fresh status report before the next date of hearing Aug 4.
The college management informed the court that it had secured personal accidental insurance of Rs.2 lakh for all 926 students of the B.Tech course.
The college has decided to refund the tuition fee paid by the students over two years - approximately Rs.1.74 lakh - and to repay any educational loan taken by the parents for education of the students, the management said.
The 24 students and a tour operator were swept away 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 June 25 said that 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 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 police complaint has been registered on charges of endangering life or personal safety of others and causing death by negligence under the Indian Penal Code.