9 dead, 14 missing as dam collapses in Maharashtra
Officials of the civil administration and police and volunteers are involved in search and rescue operations. Teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been rushed to the spot.Updated: Jul 04, 2019, 00:27 IST
Nine people drowned and 14 more are feared dead after a dam in Maharashtra’s coastal Konkan region breached on Wednesday following heavy rain, flooding villages downstream. By 6pm, rescuers battling pouring rain had recovered nine bodies while 14 were yet to be traced.
Built around 14 years ago, the Tiware dam in Chiplun taluka of Ratnagiri district, some 230km from Pune, has a storage capacity of 2 million cubic metre. It developed a breach late Tuesday night after heavy rains, district collector Sunil Chavan said.
The deaths came a day after 32 people died in Mumbai due to incidents triggered by heavy rain — the highest casualties being caused by a wall collapse.
According to officials, 12 houses from Bhendewadi hamlet were swept away while seven villages were flooded.
Among the nine bodies found, seven were of men and two of women.
Two teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) were involved in search and rescue operations along with district administration and police personnel.
“Most bodies were recovered from around five kilometre periphery of the dam. These bodies were recovered from under debris,” said NDRF commandant, Anupam Srivastava.
Srivastava’s deputy Sachidanand Gawade said, “Earth moving machines have been pressed into service to recover bodies trapped under debris of mud.”
Locals accused officials from the irrigation department of negligence, saying cracks in the wall had been spotted and reported by villagers to authorities but no action had been taken.
On Wednesday, a large portion of the wall gave way, emptying the dam within hours.
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis ordered a probe into the incident, saying, “Reasons for the breach will be probed and action would be taken against the guilty expeditiously.”
Around 1,000 people from seven villages were affected by the dam, which was built mainly to store water for drinking.
State irrigation minister Girish Mahajan, who visited the site, said, “An in-depth inquiry will be conducted to find out why the dam breached.” The minister also announced ex-gratia of ₹4 lakh for kin of each deceased.