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Minutes before tragedy struck: Tears, chaos at RGIA

Minutes before tragedy struck: Tears, chaos at RGIA
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Minutes before tragedy struck: Tears, chaos at RGIA. Dazed parents of the missing students of VNR Vignana Jyothi Engineering and Technology College,...

Hyderabad: Dazed parents of the missing students of VNR Vignana Jyothi Engineering and Technology College, Bachupally, thronged Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) on Monday. They were to be flown to the location where their wards went missing after a ghastly tragedy in Kullu, Himachal Pradesh.

A total of 24 students were reported missing after they were swept away on Sunday evening in a sudden surge of water released from a dam on the Beas River in Mandi’s district of Himachal Pradesh.

Flash protest at RGIA

With no assistance from either the college management, government officials or from the airport authorities, the parents, relatives and friends of the victims staged a dharna in front of the airport over the callousness of the officials. “Ever since we came to know of the incident, we tried to get into touch with the management, but the college management didn’t respond to us. When we came to board the flight, neither the airport authorities nor the government officials gave us the details of the flight,” said a relative of Akhil, who went missing.

After the protest, a few parents and relatives were flown to New Delhi in an Air India flight at 10 am. Around 15 parents and officials were flown to the national capital by Telangana government, while 39 parents and 14 media persons were taken in a special flight by Andhra Pradesh government in the afternoon.

Wrong people board the plane:

A criterion as such was not set for registration to board the flight. Whosever registered their name was given a boarding pass which hit many genuine candidates who were left behind. There were instances of misusing of the names of the candidates. Parents of Aishwariya, a victim, were left behind as someone had already boarded citing Aishwariya’s name. Shamshabad ACP, R Sudarshan, said that there was a lapse in the coordination among the officials. As a result proper information was not passed onto the parents.

Callous attitude of college:

Mohan, friend of Vishnuvardhan Reddy, who went missing said, “We came to know about the incident through media reports. The college management did not allow us inside. After the intervention of the Qutubullapur MLA K P Vivekananda Goud, the management allowed us. We were told that they would take us to the location, but when we came, no one from the college management was around to give us the correct information," he said.

Jaya Kumar, additional director, department of protocol, said that J C Sharma, Principal Secretary from Telangana, Narayana, minister TDP from Andhra Pradesh and Srinath from the college management have left for Kullu.

Sundar, assistant professor, VNR Vignana Jyothi Institute of Engineering and Technology said that principal; head of the department and other officials of the college have left for Kullu by a special flight. He refused to divulge further information.

First person account of a student:

Sreekar, who was one among the students in the team that went to Kullu told over the phone that the rescue operations were not properly being carried by the officials. “As of now we are stationed at a camp in Mandi and we will head toward Chandigarh and later to Hyderabad by Monday night. The three faculty members are alive and they are coordinating with officials. Kiran Kumar who was our team leader saved four students from washing away but apparently he went missing,” he informed.

Families of students are in shock and despair:

Apall of gloom descended on the families of the students who were washed away in Himachal Pradesh. The parents of the misfortunate students were in utter shock and disbelief.

Ganuru Arvind Kumar of VNR Engineering college, living in Seel Colony has been reported missing. As the news broke that he has gone missing, Arvind’s parents were in tears and have appealed to the college management as well as the govt to help find their missing son.

Ashish Mantha, another engineering student from the same college residing at Parsigutta, Secunderabad, also went missing. After yesterday’s mishap his family is in dilemma as to what could have happened to him. A close relative of the family said, “It is very unfortunate incident. Phani, the head of the family, died 10 months back after falling from the building. He was a retired government employee. The shocking news is that their son Asish was washed away in Beas river on Sunday evening. Asish’s elder brother Bhardawaj, who is in the USA, is on the way to India.

Basavaraju Sandeep, another student hailing from village Gowdapally, Rangareddy district also has been reported to have gone missing. Parents said that their son had called them up on Sunday evening and informed them about the trip to Kullu-Manali and within no time they heard the tragic news on news channels. Authorities said that they would help them to get to the place by air but things don’t really seem to happen. The whole family is mourning.

Macharla Akhil, resident of Dilsukhnagar, Hyderabad, is another victim of the heart-wrenching tragedy. His parents, who had thought that their son had gone to an educational tour to Manali are simply unable to digest the fact that he went missing. Immediately after the news broke out, they rushed to the airport.

Saviour goes missing
Hyderabad: Kiran Kumar, who was the team leader of the group that went on the industrial tour to Kullu, rescued four students even as they were being swept away but unfortunately he himself is one among the missing students. Pratyusha, a student, informed media that she was one among the persons who was saved by Kiran Kumar.
Kiran’s father Venkataramana was hopeful that his son would make it as he was a good swimmer. “When I called him at 6 pm, he informed that they were 40 km away from Kullu. I came to know through the media that he rescued four students. I am hoping that he will be safe,” said Venkataramana. Upon intervention of the media persons, Venkataramana was given a boarding pass.
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