Environmental Concerns Arise as Unidentified Substance Spills into Iril River Near Dolaithabi Dam

A potential environmental crisis has unfolded near Dolaithabi Dam as reports indicate the spillage of a dark-colored substance into the Iril River. The incident has raised concerns among residents heavily reliant on the river for daily needs. Eyewitnesses speculate that the spill might be a deliberate attack by Kuki militants targeting the Meetei community, known for their dependence on the Iril River for water consumption. Authorities have taken prompt action by closing the barrage of the Dolaithabi Dam to prevent further spread of the unidentified substance.

Upon arriving at the scene, SP of Imphal East S Ibomcha sought to reassure the public, mentioning that the black-colored substance is soluble and may not pose an immediate risk to public health. However, definitive confirmation awaits pending testing. A team from the Imphal East Administration, led by the Deputy Commissioner, along with officials from the Directorate of Environment and Climate Change, has been dispatched to assess the situation and gather information. Despite efforts to collect water samples, the substance had reportedly dissolved by the time officials arrived, prolonging the investigation process.

Fears of deliberate attacks by Kuki militants have arisen in Manipur as a dark substance spills into the Iril River, raising concerns among residents heavily dependent on the river for their daily needs.

While results of testing are 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 a recent heavy fuel leakage reported on January 10 at Manipur’s Leimakhong Power Station in Imphal West, allegedly instigated by Kuki militants amid the ongoing communal crisis. The leakage resulted in pollutants discharging into streams, exacerbating concerns among local communities dependent on stream water for their livelihoods. 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. COCOMI has strongly condemned the suspected oil spill, alleging genocidal attempts by armed Kuki groups. The organization calls for an immediate response to apprehend both culprits and involved groups, emphasizing the need to stop the repeated targeting of civilians by Armed Kuki Groups in Manipur, which has claimed the lives of 28 civilians in the last two months.

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