Imphal: Concern and fear gripped the residents of a large part of Manipur’s Imphal East district after the Iril river, which passes through the area, showed the presence of black substances near the upstream of the Dolaithabi dam on Wednesday, officials said. The officials said that the detection of huge black substances prompted the closure of the dam, which regulates the water volume, to prevent the polluted water from spreading downstream, particularly in most parts of Imphal East district.
Reacting to the situation, Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) Minister Susindro Meitei, along with state officials, including Deputy Commissioner Kh Diana, Superintendent of Police S. Ibomcha Singh, engineers and experts from the Directorate of Environment and Climate Change, visited the site on Wednesday for a thorough evaluation. Officials said that water samples were collected from multiple locations which have been sent for initial testing to the concerned laboratories.
A senior official said the blackish-coloured substance appeared concentrated along a specific bank portion due to wave and wind currents. Initial testing showed that all parameters were within permissible limits for untreated water, yet further testing in advanced labs is deemed necessary. Authorities have urged the villagers residing near the dam to stay vigilant and report any suspicious incident.
Residents of Leitanpokpi Awang Leikai, who noticed the presence of black substances in the river, have 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 neighboring 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, which affected streams in Kanto Sabal and Sekmai villages in Imphal West district. The spill, reportedly leaking from the Leimakhong heavy fuel power station in tribal-dominated Kangpokpi district, heavily contaminated the water used for domestic and agricultural purposes. (IANS)