LAMKA, Aug 5: The controversial Khuga Multipurpose Project is once again in trouble with the collapse of an earthen canal at M Semuol Village today.
The multi crore project was inaugurated by UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi on December 12, 2010.
The right bank of the canal crumbled early this morning at around 2:00 am near M Semuol village affecting hundreds of farmers in the area.
The breach at the canal came to light this morning when a farmer of Vengnomphai Village heard a sound similar to bomb explosion. He went out and found water flowing out from a breach on the right bank of the earthen canal.
The farmer immediately informed nearby villagers of Semuol and other villages. The spot is about three and half kilometres from the dam spillway site.
The bulk of water flowed off to the right side of the canal where there are some small areas of paddy fields. The water then re-entered underneath the left bank and spread out to large areas of paddy fields located down the slopes. The paddy fields have been completely submerged.
It has been reported to a team of media persons on the site by farmers that about 10 hectares of paddy cultivated areas are in danger of total destruction.
It may be mentioned that due to farmers’ inability to cultivate their land on time this year owing to scanty rainfall, the authorities concerned decided to release water continuously and in large number to ensure that all paddy fields near the dam canal could be made cultivable.
IFCD minister Ngamthang Haokip had recently visited the dam and checked out the feasibility for release of water. He had instructed the department staffs to release water and take up immediate steps to mend the canals in case of any unwanted incident.
Meanwhile, the water gate at the spillway could not be closed even though the authorities tried their level to block the mouth from where water have been released since early this morning but could not do so due to technical snags.
Technical experts from Imphal have been called and by the time this report was filed it has not been possible to close the breach as the machine repairing was underway.
Sources said if the water flow could not be controlled by today all the left banks at opposite side of the cracked portion will be washed away creating more trouble to the farmers.
To take stock of the situation, Singngat MLA GS Haupu visited the site early this morning and instructed the department staffs to do their best to save the paddy fields nearby.
At the site of the breach, he said to the people that he would take up all necessary steps so that all farmers who are affected by today`s incident will be compensated.
He said immediate action will be taken up and the crack portion will be repaired within one week and told the department to start work right from today itself while asking the engineers and SO concerned to lend JCB and other machineries if required.
At the spillway site he waited for the mechanics who are on their way to the dam and as soon as they reached he instructed them to set right at the earliest and possible to closed the mouth of the canal where the water is released.
Minbawi and Hrila both ADC members have also accompanied the MLA during which the former made an appeal to the disaster management department to take proper estimates of the extent of damages.
Meanwhile, the Khuga Dam JAC issued a press statement in connection with the incident saying if the state government had listened to them such breach could have avoided and would have benefitted the farmers and the public.
He accused the state government of not willing to give real benefit to the people but only inclined to enrich themselves through such projects like the dam and pointed out if the state government does not proper attention on dam proper functioning they will not remain as a mute spectator.