GUWAHATI: The high-power team constituted by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has said that the NEEPCO water pipeline burst incident on October 7 at Kopili Hydro Project Powerhouse near Umrangso “could have been avoided”, and also that the “negligence on the part of the NEEPCO authority is apparently visible”.
The high-power committee headed by the Hill Areas, Mines and Minerals Minister Sum Ronghang was formed on October 11 this year for an on-the-spot inspection of the pipeline blast incident. The team visited the spot on October 13 when they met various parties and organizations, including social and students’ organizations, affected families, senior citizens, the NEEPCO management, Dima Hasao district and police administrations and others.
After the preliminary survey of the site, the team found that the incident can be termed as an “accidental case” in which the “possibility of involvement of antisocial activities may not be ruled out”. The team said that the NEEPCO authority could not give any satisfactory reply to the causes of the incident and the burst of the water pipe. Instead it suggested to the committee to refer the matter to a high-level committee comprising experienced and expert persons in the field. “They said that the illegal open cast mining in Meghalaya is one of the causes of rusting and corrosion of the iron pipes of the project, but measures were being taken to counter the same and that was not the cause of the disaster. Moreover, regular maintenance and repair was being done by the authority to thwart any possible accidents,” the team said.
The report has been already submitted to the Chief Minister. The other members of the team are – NCHAC (North Cachar Hill Autonomous Council) CEM (Chief Executive Member) Bedolal Garlosa, MP Horen Sing Bey, Haflong MLA BB Hagjer, Bokajan MLA Numal Momin and the Independent Director of NEEPCO, Vijay Kumar Gupta.