Manipur: Power plant fuel leak controlled; FIR lodged against theft

An official said that it was yet to be known if there was any involvement of the miscreants behind the incident, or just an "accident".

Imphal: The fuel leakage at Leimakhong power station in Imphal West district was “effectively controlled” on Saturday, an official said, adding that the Manipur State Power Distribution Company Limited has lodged a complaint regarding incidents of theft and burglary of equipment.

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An FIR has been registered at Sekmai Police station in Imphal West district, the official said.

Security forces are making all efforts to trace and apprehend the accused individuals.

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Manipur Police said that the perpetrators had also caused spillage of heavy oil, leading to an unceasing release of oil into the nearby rivulets and river, which has posed a significant threat to the public water supply by contaminating the river water and creating a hazardous environmental situation.

A high-level team led by Manipur Chief Secretary Vineet Joshi, accompanied by scientists and seven administrative secretaries, visited the site to assess the impact on nearby villages in Imphal West district.

The visiting team reviewed the security situation, collected samples of the fuel and contaminated water, and investigated various aspects of the area.

Chief Minister N. Biren Singh said that state security forces would provide protection to the plant.

He also formed a three-member panel, headed by additional Director General of Police (Intelligence) Ashutosh Kumar Sinha, to probe the incident.

“The scheme of the miscreants to contaminate Nambul river and Imphal river, which merge into Loktak lake, has been foiled by the grace of God,” the Chief Minister said in a social media post and urged the public to remain vigilant.

While the thick black oil was prevented from reaching major rivers, affecting Kantosabal, Sekmai and its adjacent villages, the contaminated water remains a concern.

The Home Department asked the probe panel to submit their report within 15 days.

Meanwhile, a team from the National Institute of Technology (NIT), Manipur, inspected the contaminated streams in Leimakhong.

Thawai Mirel, an Imphal-based organisation, alleged that the fuel leakage was intentional, part of a “genocidal campaign” against valley area residents.

The group called for a thorough investigation and legal action against those involved.

The fuel containing streams eventually join the Imphal river downstream, which is a vital water source for several villages, including Kantosabal and Sekmai.

The Imphal river is the lifeline of Imphal valley, comprising several districts.

Villagers depend on the water of the affected streams for their day-to-day needs.

Soon after the mishap on January 10, machines were pressed into service to divert the flow of the water of the affected streams towards the nearby empty fields.

An official said that it was yet to be known if there was any involvement of the miscreants behind the incident, or just an “accident”.

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