Heavy fuel from a power plant in Manipur’s Kangpokpi district leaked into streams leading to the Imphal River on Wednesday night, the state government said.

Heavy fuel is that which has a high viscosity and density and is used in industries. It is highly polluting.

The streams into which the heavy fuel leaked in Manipur pass through the villages of Kanto Sabal and Sekmai before meeting the Imphal River downstream, which is a crucial source of water for the Imphal Valley.

“All concerned are requested to take immediate necessary action to prevent an environmental calamity, making use of all available resources in terms of machinery, manpower and expertise,” N Geoffrey, Secretary to Chief Minister N Biren Singh, said.

Videos on social media showed the stream catching fire in some places due to the leak.

An official told PTI that heavy machinery has been deployed to divert the water in the streams. “It is yet to be determined if miscreants were involved in this or if it was accidental,” he added.

The government said that the authorities need to immediately activate response mechanisms and standard operating procedures for such events. “Deputy Commissioner (Imphal West) shall coordinate in the field until further instructions,” it added.

Manipur Public Health and Engineering Department Minister Leishangthem Susindro Meitei and Forest Minister Thongam Biswajit Singh have visited the site of the leak.

Residents living beside the stream rely on its water for daily chores. “Not just aquatic life but also the communities that depend on the water have been severely threatened,” Nongmai, a resident of Kanto Sabal village, told PTI.