23 feared dead after breach in Maharashtra dam

11 bodies recovered so far; villagers say authorities ignored appeals to repair cracks in structure; Fadnavis orders probe

July 03, 2019 09:57 am | Updated July 04, 2019 06:51 pm IST - Mumbai

The Tiware dam in Ratnagiri district developed a breach late on Tuesday night after heavy rains.

The Tiware dam in Ratnagiri district developed a breach late on Tuesday night after heavy rains.

Twenty-three persons are feared dead as the Tiware dam in Ratnagiri in Maharashtra’s Konkan region breached on Wednesday following incessant rains, officials said.

Bodies of 11 persons have been recovered so far, Additional Superintendent of Police, Ratnagiri, Vishal Gaikwad said.

The Tiware dam, was built 14 years ago in Chiplun taluk, with a capacity of 20 lakh cubic metres. The breach occurred late on Tuesday night, a district official said, leading to flooding in seven villages downstream; 12 houses were swept away.

Search and rescue operations have been launched by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State police. A police officer said rescue operations were hampered initially due to darkness and sudden influx of water.

Relatives of the victims said they had asked the district administration to repair the dam as they had spotted cracks in the structure in November last year.

There was an issue over the jurisdiction of which tehsil the Tiware dam falls in, with both Chiplun and Dapoli tehsil offices ignoring the villagers’ petition, said a family member of one of the dead.

“It is only because of their negligence that we have seen this day,” he said. “My parents, wife and infant are missing,” he added. “My brother, who had gone to bring his vehicle did not return,” he said.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has ordered an inquiry into the incident.

“The reason for the breach will be probed and action would be taken against the guilty expeditiously,” the Chief Minister said.


Local elected representatives also said the government had neglected their pleas for repair of the dam. Maharashtra Water Resources Minister Girish Mahajan said villagers in the area had complained of cracks in the dam.

“This dam was built 14 years ago. The State government will find out at which level there was negligence and necessary action will be taken accordingly,” he said.

Homes of the villagers washed away will be constructed at safe places, he said. A compensation of ₹four lakh will be given to the kin of each of the deceased, he added.

Chief Minister Fadnavis contacted the district administration and took stock of the relief and rescue operations, an official statement said.

Some local residents claimed that Water Resources department official recently visited the dam, which was filled to its capacity, after complaints that the walls had developed cracks.

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