Mapithel Dam downstream villagers continue to live in fear of dam collapse

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IMPHAL, July 31: Amid the reported leakages of the Thoubal Multi Purpose Dam, residents of the villages located in the immediate downstream area of the dam continue to take shelter outside their villages fearing an outburst of the water and flooding their villages.

Resident of Itham, Moirangpurel and Tumakhok villages had started evacuating their villages fearing the worst due to the reported leakages since July 23 and have been spending the night on trucks, waiting sheds and makeshift shelters.

Today a team of media persons accompanied volunteers of the Development Organisation Andro Kendra and visited the downstream villages including Tumukhok, Itham, Nongdam and Morangpurel.

The team found that villagers were staying on trucks, and some had scattered to higher places along the foothills. Villagers were also found taking shelter in some houses which were build on the hill slopes.

Interacting with the media team, a villager Y Thoiba said around 1614 villagers are presently staying in his camp at thangjing Pukhri Lamkhai relief camp. Most of the people are from Tumukhok Village, he continued.

Among those taking shelter there are several newly married women who had just settled in their husband`™s homes and pregnant women, he said. They have been shifted to their parental homes today, he continued.

There are also many children, he said.

The incessant rain has only compounded their problems, Thoiba said.

There are also some 300 villagers from Nongdam Tangkhul Village at the camp at present, he observed.

Tomba also observed that volunteers count the people staying in the camp everyday at around 8pm.

Although all these people had fled from their homes and staying in such hardship, there has been no help from the side of the State government, he observed.

He said recently the local MLA Th Shyamkumar had extended 100 bags of 50 kg rice, four bags of dal, one bag of onion and a tin of oil for them, while the Human Rights Initiative supplied 24 bags of rice to the people of Itham and Moirangpurel yesterday.

On being asked as to when the people will be returning to their homes, he said until and unless the leakages of the dam are filled and authorities concern repair the dam fully, the people are afraid to return home.

He continued, the people are afraid to trust just the assurances and guarantees of the officials as the leakage of the dam is a very dangerous issue.

Although the authorities have started releasing the dam water through two valves it is not enough to allay the fears of the people, he continued.

He observed, if by any chance the dam collapses the first impact would be with our villages not others.

The water released since some days back is not enough, although it had led to the flood in Thoubal, he continued.

Meanwhile, the team also Moirangpurel Government High School where around 500 villagers are taking shelter and the SDO office where around 1000 villagers are taking shelter.

All the villagers continue to wait for help from the authorities.

Meanwhile, it may be mentioned that the local MLA Th Shyamkumar had inspected the situation of the relief campers and shared their grievances.

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