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High Court calls Larji dam killer

High Court calls Larji dam killer
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Highlights

The Himachal Pradesh High Court on Saturday ordered compensation of Rs 20 lakh each to the families of 24 students of Hyderabad college -- VNR Vignana Jyothi Institute of Engineering and Technology -- who were washed away in the Beas River last year, to be paid within eight weeks.

VNR college told to pay 30% of compensation

  • Orders `20 lakh payout each
  • Relief can’t redress parents’ pain

Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh High Court on Saturday ordered compensation of Rs 20 lakh each to the families of 24 students of Hyderabad college -- VNR Vignana Jyothi Institute of Engineering and Technology -- who were washed away in the Beas River last year, to be paid within eight weeks.

A division bench consisting of Chief Justice Mansoor Ahmad Mir and Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan directed that the compensation amount, including the interim compensation of Rs 5 lakh, will be paid with interest at the rate of 7.5 per cent per annum from Saturday till its final realisation is awarded.

"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 observed.

The bench, which treated a media report as public interest litigation, said the state electricity board that runs the Larji hydropower project, responsible for the release of water into the river, would share 60 per cent of the compensation, while the college and the hill state will pay 30 and 10 percent, respectively. The High Court on June 25 had ordered interim compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to the families of each student who were washed away.

The 24 students of VNR Vignana Jyothi Institute of Engineering and Technology in Hyderabad and a tour operator were swept away on June 8, 2014 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.

Earlier, turning down a plea of the engineering institute to modify or recall its order to pay interim compensation to the families of each victim, the high court had directed the college management to refund the amount of tuition fee of the students.

The division bench observed that the tuition fee and the insurance amount (Rs 2 lakh) swas their own money. The other amounts granted by the State Governments of Himachal Pradesh (Rs 1.5 lakh), Telangana Rs 5 lakh) and Andhra Pradesh (Rs 5 lakh) as ex gratia have no role to play. It is just the gesture of the State Governments.

The judges, who reserved the judgment on December 14, observed that the news about the incident was so shocking and pricking that it shattered everyone.

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