The High Court of Himachal Pradesh on Wednesday announced an interim compensation of Rs.5 lakh to the family of each of the 24 Hyderabad Engineering College students who were washed away after the abrupt release of water into the Beas by the Larji Dam management on June 8.

The amount is to be borne equally by the Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board and the VNR Vignana Jyothi Institute of Engineering and Technology. The amount has to be deposited on or before the next day of hearing on July 9. A Division Bench of Chief Justice Mansoor Ahmad Mir and Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan, which treated a media report, suo motu , as a public interest litigation petition, also made it clear that a criminal probe into the matter would continue and it would monitor its progress.

The interim order came after the State and the Institute of Engineering filed a status report in connection with the case in the court on Tuesday. The court had also made the Larji Dam officials and the College officials as party to the case and has asked them to file a fresh status report by July 9.

The court has observed that no relief can cover the loss of sons and daughters.

The chief secretary, in his status report, informed the court that 17 bodies were recovered till June 22 and it had been decided to continue with the search operation till the remaining bodies were found.

Compensation to be borne equally by Himachal Electricity Board, Hyderabad college