A water official in India took flak after he suggested that crabs caused a deadly dam breach which destroyed several villages and claimed multiple lives.
The Tiware Dam in India’s central Maharashtra state was breached on Tuesday night during heavy rain. Water from the dam flooded several villages, killing at least 18 people.
An official probe was launched into the incident. But Maharashtra legislator and Water Conservation Minister Tanaji Sawant made headlines on Thursday when he told reporters that the dam, built in the early 2000s, worked fine before and that crabs were actually to blame for the tragedy.
There were no leakages earlier. Leakage happened after a large number of crabs gathered around the dam. Locals brought the issue to our notice and our department acted on it. The incident is unfortunate.
According to local media, the official made his comments while trying to dismiss the question whether the dam had construction flaws.
The minister’s remarks did not go down well with some of his political opponents, who accused him of making up excuses and ignoring corruption and mismanagement 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,” spokesperson for the Nationalist Congress Party Nawab Malik said.