A team of Manipur Human Rights Commission (MHRC), led by chairperson UB Saha, inspected the Heavy Fuel Power Plant at Leimakhong on Saturday where heavy fuel leaked on January 10.
The fuel spilled into several streams and rivers.
The MHRC team, while inspecting the plant at Leimakhong, found that one of the pipes affixed to the Power plant was cut off.
While interacting with the official, it was informed that the damage in the Power Plant could have been done from outside and it could not be an accident.
Members of the Kuki Community, who were present during the inspection, also said that they are trying to find who the culprit were.
It may be noted that on Wednesday, the MHRC had registered a suo-moto case in connection with the Leimakhong oil spill incident. While issuing the notice to Manipur Chief Secretary and Director General of Police, a bench of MHRC, comprising Justice UB Saha, chairperson and member KK Singh, observed that as the matter is relating to safety and security of large number of human lives and their rights, “we want to know who have been given the authority by the Chief Minister to take steps for safety of the lives of people, and what steps have been taken up.”
On 19 January, responding to the notice, the additional secretary (Power), government of Manipur informed the MHRC that a team led by additional chief engineer visited the affected site at Kanto Sabal on the night on the day of leakages. It was further informed that course of the contaminated stream was diverted into nearby paddy filed to prevent further contamination of water in the downstream. Samples were collected and have been sent to the laboratory for testing.
While inspecting the side, MHRC chairperson, accompanied by member KK Singh, IGP Mamata Wahengbam and Law Officer W Basantakumar along with a media team inspected Khanglapokpi paddy field where leaked fuel were diverted. MHRC team interacted with officials of Power Department and Water Resources Department, government of Manipur who were present at the spot.
Ashok P, a team leader from Oil Spill Combad, Mumbai, who took charge of cleaning black furnace, told that the team is still waiting for machines and other materials to speed up the cleaning process.
On enquiry about the possible soil erosion, soil testing could be done before the next crop.
During the inspection, womenfolk of Khurkhul village informed the media persons that the villagers are facing acute water scarcity. They also informed that supply of water from Kanto Sabal Water Supply has been stopped since last year May due to water not being provided from Leimakhong. They also told that the villagers of Khrukhul and adjoining could not go to paddy field and Leimakhong Chingmang for collecting firewood despite the place being their own land as there are frequent firings from nearby hills allegedly by Kuki militants.
It is reported that there are around 150 Meitei houses in Leimakhong, Ingourok Chingmang and Ex-Servicemen Colony, of which 70 houses were burned down. One Jiban, a Ward Member told that two houses including his own were also burned down on January 18, 2024.
Later in the day, MHRC team also visited the family of those killed in a firing incident that took place at Lilong Chingjao on January 2, 2024. It may be reported that during the firing, 5 persons succumbed to the bullet injuries.