Nineteen months after the Mandi tragedy in which 24 students from Hyderabad were washed away in Beas river in Mandi district in Himachal Pradesh, the Himachal Pradesh High Court on Saturday awarded Rs 20 lakh compensation each to the next kin of the deceased.
The judgement was given by the division bench headed by Chief Justice Mansoor Ahmad Mir and Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan which ordered the Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board (HPSEB) and the Hyderabad-based VNR Vigna Jyothi engineering college to pay Rs 20 lakh to the kin of each of the 24 engineering students, reported Hindustan Times.
Based on newspaper reports, the order stated that Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board, that controls the Larji hydropower project, which was responsible releasing the water on the fateful day, would share 60 percent of the total compensation. The engineering college and Himachal Pradesh government would pay 30 and 10 percent respectively.
The courtâ€™s order to award Rs 5 lakh interim compensation on June 25, 2014 will be adjusted with the Rs 20 lakh compensation with interest at 7.5% per annum till the compensation is disbursed. The compensation disbursed to the next kin of the deceased within eight weeks from January 2, 2016, reported Indian Express.
HT quoted the bench saying â€śKeeping all these factors in view, read with the inquiry report of the divisional commissioner, Mandi, the board authorities had a major role in the tragedy.â€ť
â€śThe HPSEB authorities had failed to exercise due care and caution, thus, are to be saddled with liability at least to the extent of 60%,â€ť it added.