At least nine people were killed and 16 went missing after a dam in Maharashtra's coastal Konkan region breached following incessant rains leading to flood-like situation in downstream villages, officials said on Wednesday.
The Tiware dam in Chiplun taluka of Ratnagiri district has a storage capacity of 20 lakh cubic metre. It developed a breach late Tuesday night after heavy rains, a district official said.
The dam breach caused a flood-like situation in seven downstream villages, with 12 houses being swept away.
Nine bodies, including that of three women, have been found so far, while 16 people are still missing, a police officer said.
When contacted, Additional Superintendent of Police, Ratnagiri, Vishal Gaikwad said a search operation has been launched by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and state police personnel.
"Police have moved the villagers to safety. The situation is under control now," he said.
Another police officer said rescue operations were hampered initially due to darkness and sudden influx of water.
Local public representatives alleged that the government neglected their pleas for maintenance of the dam. They claimed to have written to the administration about cracks in the walls of the dam, but no action was taken.
Earlier in the day, Maharashtra Water Resources Minister Girish Mahajan said villagers in the vicinity of the Tiware dam had complained of cracks in the dam.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has ordered an inquiry into the incident.
"Reasons for the breach will be probed and action would be taken against the guilty expeditiously," an official statement quoted the chief minister as saying.
Fadnavis contacted the district administration and took stock of the relief and rescue operations, it stated.
Meanwhile, some locals claimed that officials of Irrigation Department had visited the dam, which was filled to its capacity, recently over complaints that its walls had developed cracks.
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