Tiware Dam breach: struggle for life continues


Who is Responsible for Man-made Mistakes?
Tiware Dam fulfilled the water requirement for people and farms at Tiware village for the last 14 years. Maintenance work of the dam was ignored and there were major leakages, which was informed often by people to the concerned Irrigation Department but to no avail. Some low-quality repair work was done after almost one and a half years since the last complain, which also turned out to be useless.

Though the dam brought prosperity to the village, the same dam took everything away on the night of 2nd July 2019. Whose mistake was this? The dam, constructor, government or people residing near the dam? The question is still unanswered.

The disaster brought the village to limelight overnight
The small Tiware village had only 47 families with 19 homes, and most of them were dependent on farming. The dam was built in 2005 by the Irrigation Department, subcontracting the company which is owned by the brother of a local legislative of the Shivsena Party. The big question is, was the construction done properly?

After the disaster, the water supply continues with the help of water tankers, and though people received short-term shelter, what is the future for this village? Public property such as roads and two bridges connecting Chiplun city are also damaged due to flooding.

The calamity took 24 lives, a complete family and a whole village. People in this tragedy have lost family members and homes, and have lost courage and hope for their future.

Opposition leader of the Nationalist Congress Party visited the Dam sight and expressed condolences. A senior leader of the Nationalist Congress Party Mr. Sharad Pawar visited Tiware village on the 8th of July and had a meeting with villagers to understand and discuss their problems and look into further needs. People have demanded for permanent relocation to Alore village, situated 14 km away from Tiware.

I personally went to Tiware village 6 days after the incidence and visited the sight. After talking to people, and ex-sarpanch of the village Mr. Tanaji Chavhan informed me about the number of complaints to the Irrigation Department which was always ignored. He further told me that all the people of the village including himself have demanded their relocation to Alore village. He has lost most of his family members but is working hard for the villager’s resettlement forgetting his own loss.

Deepak Chavhan from Tiware played the vital role of a life savior by saving 15 people’s lives at the time of the flood. He explained the situation; on 2nd July when he was having dinner with friends he heard a loud noise and saw water at the door. When he noticed the red colour of the water he ran towards the dam and saw the big hole into it. Deepak ran towards the village to alert people nearby, the time was around 9:30 pm. Generally villagers sleep early, so it was difficult to just shout loudly and alert everyone, but Deepak tried his best to save many lives.

This was the darkest night for the people of Tiware. By the time help reached to village, people were evacuated to the Tiware High school and were provided with food and necessary support. The Government provided 10,000/- rupees of immediate help, and Rs 4 lacks as support for each family for their further recovery.

The National Disaster Management Force started their mission to find lost ones, and were successful to find 23 bodies out of 24. NGO’s like Kolhapur white army as well as Mahabaleshwar trekkers group also assisted in the work.

A 5 year old child who lost his whole family was asking about his mother after his sudden separation, he is now taken care by villagers. A person who was settled in Thane, left everything and resettled himself in Tiware for his love for nature. Now he has lost everything he earned in life and wonders if he made the biggest mistake in his life. Tiware Dam took everything with it and whatever left behind is destroyed due to the flooding.

Third Incidence in a Year!
A bridge on Savitri River near Mahad collapsed and took 40 lives last year. A pedestrian flyover collapsed this summer in Mumbai near CST, and now the Tiware dam breach took 24 lives.

The critical question to be taken into account is who is responsible for these losses? What action plan has the government have to avoid such accidents in the future? The people are still finding answers. Is there any hope for the future?

Story & images by Abhijeet Gurjar
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