Twenty-three people are feared dead as the Tiware dam in Ratnagiri in Maharashtra’s Konkan region breached on Wednesday following incessant rains, officials said.
Amid the incessant rain, the dam breached around 9.30 pm, late on Tuesday night, a district official said, leading to flooding in seven villages downstream; 12 houses were swept away. The affected villages or hamlets are Owali, Riktoli, Aakale, Daadar, Nandivase and Kalakavane.
Bodies of 11 persons have been recovered so far, Additional Superintendent of Police, Ratnagiri, Vishal Gaikwad has said.
Gaikwad said, “The entire wall of the dam has been completely demolished by the strong force of water collected in the rivulet from numerous streams in the mountainous region. In the flooding it caused, houses in Bhandewadi hamlet, located around 300 meters from the dam were washed away. We launched search and rescue around midnight. NDRF has joined in the morning.”
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.
“People have lost their lives. Why did the dam breach? Were there deficiencies in the dam structure? What sort of repairs were carried out? Was there negligence in carrying out works? All this will be a part of the inquiry ordered by the Chief Minister,” said Mahajan.
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.
Search and rescue operations have been launched by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State police.
The Tiware dam, was built 14 years ago in Chiplun taluka, with a capacity of 20 lakh cubic metres.