Located in Ratnagiri district of the Indian Maharashtra state, Tiware dam was suddenly ruptured flooding seven downstream villages.
The incident occurred on Tuesday, July 4, 2019 and was followed by a heavy storm that struck the region. The devastating floods claimed the lives of at least 18 people and destroyed local infrastructure,
An amazing fact is that Tanaji Sawant, the state's Legislator and Water Conservation Minister declared that the dam was ruptured due to a large aggregation of crabs that weakened the structure's wall. “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 (Special Investigation Team) appointed by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis will come up with its findings soon and we will come to know what exactly went wrong,” he stated when asked if the dam had structural flaws.
According to Minister Sawant, the dam was operational for 15 years (constructed in 2004) and was storing water consistently without experiencing any damage.
Nevertheless, political opponents of the minister did not accept this bizarre excuse and accused him of concealing delinquency issues by local authorities. “You want to save a big, corrupt shark and blaming poor crabs? This cannot be tolerated. There must be an inquiry and he must be punished,” Nawab Malik, national spokesperson of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), said.
The state of Maharashtra holds about 35% of Indian's 5,202 dams and experiences intense torrential rains that lead to stability issues. However, the state takes safer dam measures in comparison with the rest states of India. According to Maharashtra officials, all dams are consistently inspected annually before the monsoon period.