MUMBAI: Advancing a bizarre theory, Shiv Sena Minister in Maharashtra, Tanaji Sawant, has held crabs responsible for the Tuesday dam burst incident in Ratnagiri that has claimed 18 lives so far.
Speaking to media persons on Thursday, the Water Conservation Minister claimed that there were no breaches in the ill-fated Tiware 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.
He said the government was informed by the residents of Bhendewadi hamlet of the problems of breaches and the officials had taken action on it.
Attacking Sawant, Nationalist Congress Party national spokesperson Nawab Malik termed it as "a shameful defence of his party (Shiv Sena) 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.