Death toll in Tiware dam breach rises to 16 after 2 more bodies found
Two more bodies were found on Thursday after rescuers resumed their search for the missing people after the Tiware dam in Maharashtra’s Ratnagiri district gave away late on Tuesday, officials said.
The death toll has gone up to 16 and seven people are yet to be found after the Tiware dam in Chiplun taluka in the coastal Konkan region breached following heavy rains, flooding villages downstream.
Two teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) are involved in the search and rescue operations along with local police personnel and volunteers amid light and intermittent rains on Thursday. The search operation had to be stopped on Wednesday after darkness fell.
Most of the bodies were found under the debris that came along with water within 5 kilometres of the dam as 12 houses from Bhendewadi hamlet were swept away while seven villages were flooded.
Ten of the victims were cremated in the morning, officials said.
The Tiware dam, built around 14 years ago, had been overflowing since 5pm on Tuesday evening and local disaster management unit (DMU) officials said they received a call at 10pm that the dam wall had collapsed.
Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has announced a probe into the Tiware dam breach incident. A Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by a senior IAS officer will be set up to inquire into the accident.
Local villagers said they had recently complained about one side of the dam being damaged and that their pleas of maintenance of the dam were neglected by the concerned authorities. The villagers also alleged that the contract for the dam’s construction was given to a company owned by a local Shiv Sena legislator Sadanand Chavan and his brother, more than 14 years ago.
Also read: Officials did not act on complaints of cracks in Tiware dam: Locals, MLA in Maharashtra’s Ratnagiri
The damaged section was filled with soil on May 9 after a district water conservation officer visited the dam and ordered the repair work, a DMU official said.
“It is true that the dam was built by our company, but the responsibility for its maintenance was with the water conservation department. We cannot be blamed for this breach,” Sadanand Chavan said.
Around 1,000 people from seven villages were affected by the dam, which was built mainly to store water for drinking.