The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) on Friday recovered one more body from 40 km downstream of the breached Tiware dam, taking the number of victims to 19. The search for at least four more persons will continue on Saturday morning.
The Tiware dam, classified as a minor irrigation tack, located off Karad Chiplun Road in Ratnagiri district, had started overflowing on Tuesday evening. Around 9.30 pm, a part of the wall developed a breach, resulting in a flood-like situation and subsequently, a large part wall of the dam was completely demolished by the force of water. The dam had undergone temporary repairs recently.
NDRF Deputy Commandant Sachchidanand Gawade said, “The body of a missing woman was recovered in Vashishthi river, around 40 km from the dam site. In all, 19 bodies, including 12 men and seven women, have been recovered till Friday evening. Search is on for the remaining four with the help of local villagers and trekker groups.”
The state government has already set up a team, which is looking into the causes of the dam breach. The team is also probing the possible negligence angle that could have led to the disaster.
Meanwhile, in a video that had gone viral and was also played on the some television channels, Shiv Sena leader and newly appointed Water Conservation Minister Tanaji Sawant was seen saying that “there is a huge problem of crabs around the dam, which led to the leakage”.
Asked about the minister’s statement, Prakash Deshmukh, Chief Engineer of the water
resources department, said: “I do not wish to comment on it. The minister is referring to a discussion he had with the villagers. I do not know the context in which the minister had the discussion.”
When asked whether there was any basis to the statement and whether it will be looked into, Deshmukh said, “I cannot comment on it.”
As the process of giving compensation to the affected families and villagers who suffered property losses began, some villagers complained that government officials were
asking them for documents relating to the purchase of the plots where their houses were built.
A revenue official said, “All officers have been instructed to be sympathetic to the situation of the villagers. The land or property related documents will be taken from gram panchayats to complete formalities. The affected villagers will not be asked to fetch documents.”