700 personnel of NDRF, Army, Navy involved in search for 16 missing students

Home Minister Naini Narasimha Reddy and Principal Secretary B.R. Meena will return on Monday from Mandi in Himachal Pradesh and will be replaced by Transport Minister P. Mahender Reddy and another senior IAS officer, Luv Agrawal, to supervise operations of recovering the bodies of engineering students who drowned in Beas river.

After a week-long stay since the tragedy that struck students of VNR Engineering College, the Telangana government on Sunday decided to relieve Mr. Narasimha Reddy and Mr. Meena by sending Mr. Mahender Reddy and Mr. Agrawal.

Mr. Narasimha Reddy told The Hindu over phone that Sonar (sound navigation and ranging) equipment procured from the Navy at Visakhapatnam was deployed in the underwater search over four to five km in the river on Sunday but it did not yield any result. The equipment which was fitted to a boat will again be used on Monday. He said 700 personnel of National Disaster Response Force, Army and the Navy were involved in the search operations for 16 students still missing.

Twenty-four relatives of students, mostly parents, were asked by the Minister to leave as it would be futile staying back if the bodies could not be traced by Monday.