Imphal, Feb 12: Fear gripped the residents of a substantial part of Imphal East district on February 7 as the Iril River, which courses through the area, revealed the presence of black substances near the upstream of the important Dolaithabi dam.
This discovery prompted the closure of the dam, responsible for regulating the water volume, to prevent the polluted water from spreading downstream, particularly affecting Imphal East.
Responding to the situation, Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) Minister Susindro Meitei, along with various state officials, including Imphal East District’s Deputy Commissioner Kh Diana, Superintendent of Police S Ibomcha Singh, PHED engineers, and experts from the Directorate of Environment and Climate Change, visited the site for a thorough evaluation on February 7.
Water samples were diligently collected from multiple locations and sent for initial testing to the respective laboratories.
A senior official mentioned that the blackish-coloured substance appeared concentrated along a specific bank portion due to wave and wind currents.
Initial testing indicated that all parameters were within permissible limits for untreated water, yet further testing in advanced labs is deemed necessary. Authorities urged villagers residing near the dam and affected river sites to stay vigilant and report any suspicious incidents.
Residents of Leitanpokpi Awang Leikai, who noticed the significant presence of substances in the river, ceased using the water out of fear of potential toxic effects from charcoal-like pollutants. Given that the Iril River’s catchment area is the hill ranges of Saikul in the neighbouring Kangpokpi district, residents suspect intentional pollution by miscreants in Saikul to spoil the river water.
This incident follows a previous oil spill on January 10, originating from a defunct power station, that affected streams in Kanto Sabal and Sekmai villages in Imphal West district. The spill, reportedly leaking from the Leimakhong heavy fuel power station in Kuki-dominated Kangpokpi district, heavily contaminated water used for domestic and agricultural purposes.