Maharashtra minister Tanaji Sawant has attributed the breach in Tiware dam in Ratnagiri district, which claimed the lives of 18 people, to the weakening of wall by crabs.
Calling the dam breach incident a “natural calamity”, the newly-appointed Water Conservation Minister also said whatever is destined to happen, will happen. Talking to reporters, Sawant said on Thursday (July 4) that officials and locals had informed him that a large number of crabs have weakened the wall of the dam.
“The wall was weakened by a large number crabs and after it was pointed out to the government officials, some remedial measures were taken up. The SIT appointed by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis will come up with its findings soon and we will come to know what exactly went wrong,” he said.
The dam, located in Chiplun tehsil, breached late Tuesday night following torrential rains in the coastal Konkan region. The minister also hinted that the incident could also be a fallout of torrential rains in the dams catchment area.
“In just eight hours, 192 mm rainfall was recorded in the catchment area of the dam. As per my information, the water level of the dam increased by eight metres in eight hours. The villagers wonder whether it was due to a cloudburst,” he said.
But it will eventually be discussed in the committee, the minister added. “It was a tragedy, but I think you cannot change your fate. Whatever is going to happen, will happen. It was a kind of natural calamity,” he said. When asked about whether the repair works of the dam was shoddy, he said, “We realised it only when water started accumulating in the dam.”
Last year, Water Resources Minister Girish Mahajan had stirred up a controversy after he attributed a major breach in the right wall of the Mutha canal in Pune, which had inundated parts of the city, to rats, other rodents and crabs.
“The canal wall caved in as rats, rodents and crabs had been gnawing away at it, burrowing holes in the walls foundation,” he had said.