14 dead and 9 missing after the rape of the dam in Ratnagiri
RATNAGIRI: Fourteen people, many of them from an extended family, died when a dam in the town of Tivare, 250 km from Pune, broke on Tuesday night, which resulted in a torrent that devastated many houses. Nine people were still missing when rescue operations were suspended by Wednesday night.
A massive 100-meter portion of the 308-meter-long dam was washed away, absorbing nine of the 13 houses in the town and two bridges, officials said.
The villagers told TOI that the tragedy was about to happen, claiming that they had complained to the authorities for at least two years about the main leaks of the dam, which was built in 2014.
On Wednesday, relatives of the victims refused to take their bodies until action was taken against officials who did not hear their complaints. However, they gave in after the state water minister, Girish Mahajan, met with them and assured them that an adequate investigation of their complaints would be carried out.
Meanwhile, Mumbai received light rain on Wednesday, a relief after days of heavy rain. The firefighters recovered four more bodies from the two sites of collapse of the wall in Malad, raising the death toll to 26 in the tragedy on Tuesday.
We've been complaining about dam leaks for the past 2 years
The Minister of Water Resources of Maharashtra, Girish Mahajan, said that each family will receive Rs 5 lakh as ex gratia. We will build temporary housing for them immediately and later permanent structures. One person from each family in the village will be given a job in the government, he said.
Shrikant Bhoite, gram sevak of the village of Tiware, said: For the past two years, our village has been communicating with the irrigation department about the leaks. In May of this year, two or three trucks threw mud on the site to prevent water from flowing out. They told us that the problem had been solved.
Signs of an impending tragedy began to show on Tuesday when large amounts of muddy water began to flow from the earth dam, which has a concrete wall. Nagesh Shinde, the police (police informant) of the village, said they sent an alert to the police and other authorities on the morning itself. At 5 o'clock in the afternoon, the dam was full to its capacity: 0.08 billion cubic feet of water. At 8:30 p.m., some villagers said that the main wall of the dam had developed a breach.
Tukaram Chavan's family, his wife, his son, his daughter-in-law and his two grandchildren were devastated. The rescue teams are looking for them.
There is no trace of my family. My life is over, said Tukaram, who survived. Sandeep Pawar, whose niece was married to Tukaram's son, had difficulty locating the family home. There are no signs of the house, he told TOI.
Two teams are engaged in rescue operations.
On Wednesday, some villages downstream did not even have drinking water since the wells were full of muddy water. Even the rescue teams were looking for drinking water from a village 30 km away.
The state government has formed five teams to ensure that there are no outbreaks of disease in these villages.