Sixty persons taken to accident site. Late in the evening, Irrigation Minister T. Harish Rao told reporters that his government was monitoring the situation minute by minute and was in constant touch with the Himachal Pradesh government.
The Kullu tragedy involving city students assumed political overtones as the governments of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh vied with each other to fly the victims’ parents to the accident site on Monday.
While the anguished parents of victims waited for reports on bodies being salvaged, another drama was unfolding at the airport from where the Telangana Home Minister N. Narasimha Reddy and two officials were to air-dash to Kullu to supervise the rescue operations. Agitated parents buttonholed the minister and the government hurriedly purchased tickets for 15 persons to go to Delhi. They were told that the government would make travel arrangements for them to reach Kullu from Delhi.
In the meanwhile, the Andhra Pradesh government moved into the picture and arranged a chartered flight to take the parents from Hyderabad to Delhi. Sources say the job of chartering a flight so quickly was facilitated by the Union Civil Aviation Minister P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju, who is from the Telugu Desam Party.
Not to be left behind, the Telangana government got in touch with a private airliner - Air Costa for chartering a flight to transport parents of victims. Telangana Chief Secretary Rajiv Sharma spoke to the Air Costa CEO Capt. Babu and the government also wrote a letter to the CEO confirming that the government would bear the expenses for bringing the parents and survivors to Hyderabad from Kullu. Even before the Telangana government could get the flight, the Andhra Pradesh government acted swiftly and around 11.30 a.m. Minister P. Narayana and a senior IAS officer Satish Chandra took off from Shamshabad with 60 people to Chandigarh in the chartered flight. Two special buses were also arranged by the government to ferry them to Kullu from Chandigarh.
Late in the evening, Irrigation Minister T. Harish Rao told reporters that his government was monitoring the situation minute by minute and was in constant touch with the Himachal Pradesh government. Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao had requested his counterpart Veerabhadra Singh to spare no efforts in the rescue mission. Chief Secretary Rajiv Sharma had spoken to defence and Home Ministry to involve ITBP and NDRF personnel in the rescue operations.
The government had also requisitioned IAF choppers to be used.