In the wake of a recent oil spill report in Imphal West, another alarming incident has unfolded near Dolaithabi Dam as a dark-colored substance has spilled into the Iril river, causing apprehension among local residents who rely on the river for their daily needs.
According to eyewitnesses, the incident has fueled fears of a deliberate attack by Kuki militants targeting the Meetei community, who heavily depend on the Iril River for water consumption.
The suspicion has prompted authorities to take swift action, including the immediate closure of the barrage of the Dolaithabi Dam to prevent the further spread of the unidentified substance.
Upon arrival at the scene, SP of Imphal East S Ibomcha reassured the public that the black-colored substance is soluble and may not pose an immediate risk to public health. However, definitive confirmation awaits pending testing.
Additionally, a team from the Imphal East Administration, led by the Deputy Commissioner and officials from the Directorate of Environment and Climate Change, has also been dispatched to assess the situation and gather information.
Despite efforts to collect water samples for testing, the substance had reportedly dissolved by the time officials arrived at the site, prolonging the investigation process.
As the results of the testing remain pending, residents of Pukhao, who witnessed the incident, have urged caution, advising others living alongside the Iril River to refrain from using its water until government authorities declare it safe for consumption.
This incident follows closely on the heels of a heavy fuel leakage reported on January 10 at Manipur’s Leimakhong Power Station in Imphal West, allegedly instigated by Kuki militants amidst the ongoing communal crisis in Manipur. The leakage resulted in the discharge of pollutants into streams passing through Kantosabal and Sekmai, further exacerbating concerns among local communities dependent on stream water for their livelihoods.
In response to the incident, an officer of the Manipur State Power Company Limited (MSPCL) has been suspended pending further investigation.
As authorities work to ascertain the nature and extent of the substance spilled into the Iril River, residents remain on edge, hoping for swift resolution and assurances of their safety and well-being.
Meanwhile, COCOMI has strongly condemned the suspected oil spill at the Iril River alleging act of genocidal attempts by armed Kuki Groups following the indiscriminate attacks against Meetei villagers.
“COCOMI perceives this as a malevolent scheme, a deliberate attempt to poison the entire downstream population situated near the Dolaithabi Dam. The repercussions of this act are dire, endangering the livelihoods of those who rely on the river for various purposes, including drinking water,” COCOMI said in a release.
This appalling incident marks the militants’ second assault, following a previous incident involving the deliberate leakage of heavy fuel from a power plant located near their operated zones, it said, adding the aftermath of this earlier act resulted in a severe environmental catastrophe in the Leimakhong areas.
“COCOMI vehemently condemns these inhumane actions perpetrated by Kuki militants, who have consistently targeted Meetei villages since May 3. The pattern of such genocidal attempts is deeply alarming, demanding a robust and immediate response to apprehend both the culprits and the groups involved,” it said.
The repeated targeting of civilians by Armed Kuki Groups in Manipur must stop, it said.
28 civilians have lost their lives in the last two months, COCOMI said, calling upon all security agencies to take up necessary action to control and contain all these Kuki terrorists and their sympathisers.
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