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‘Crabs caused Tiware dam breach’ that killed 18: Maharashtra water minister

Speaking to mediapersons, the minister claimed that there were no breaches in the dam earlier with the reservoir storing water for the past 15 years.

SNS | New Delhi |

Two days after a dam breach incident killed 18 in Maharashtra’s Ratnagiri, Water Conservation Minister Tanaji Sawant on Thursday, in a bizarre explanation, said that crabs were responsible for the dam burst that led to flooding in the area.

Sawant claimed that a large number of crabs had gathered around the Tiware Dam leading to the leakage.

Speaking to mediapersons, the minister claimed that there were no breaches in the dam earlier with the reservoir storing water for the past 15 years.

“The dam was built in 2004 and there were no breaches ever… However, there is huge problem of crabs in that dam and because of that the recent leakages took place,” Sawant explained.

Terming the tragedy as a “huge calamity” the minister said that 2 days before, there was a massive downpour in that region, with a rainfall of 192 mm which raised dam water level by 8 metres in just eight hours.

National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has recovered 18 dead bodies so far from the dam, which breached in Ratnagiri district on June 3, creating a flood-like situation downstream, washing away at least 12 houses.

However, Nationalist Congress Party national spokesperson Nawab Malik attacked the Shiv Sena minister terming it as a “shameful defence of his party legislator who is the contractor for the dam”.

“You want to save a big, corrupt shark and blaming poor crabs? This cannot be tolerated. There must be an enquiry and he must be punished,” demanded Malik.

Suhas Khandagale, chief of the Village Development Committee of Ratnagiri said that time has come to throw crabs at the minister’s home now.

“When the crabs were gnawing away at the dam, did he (Minister) go there for an underwater shooting? This is the limit of playing around with the peoples’ sentiments…” Khandagale said.

Meanwhile, the minister’s crustacean justification for the dam burst got the social media in splits.

Several parts of Maharashtra were battered with heavy rain, and on Tuesday at least 40 people were killed in rain-related incidents across the state.

Mumbai received record rainfall and life remained paralysed on Tuesday as most of the roads got clogged and local train services virtually coming to a standstill.

Air, road and rail traffic was severely in the state and the financial capital.