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Smoke, ashes billowing from swamp in Manipur
Sobhapati Samom
 IMPHAL, July 5 – The continuous billowing of smoke and ashes together with the gradual expansion of its crater in the swamp area of a remote Manipur village near the India-Myanmar border has created fear among the villagers.

The villagers said they first sighted smoke coming out of the swamp area of Shitru in April this year. However, they initially thought that it could be due to burnt remains of pine roots in the forest.

But after a village youth Wisdom Vashum who accidentally stepped into one of the holes got burn injury on his left leg, the villagers realised there was some unnatural phenomenon. Another villager who visited the site said that three holes having a radius of one foot each are now clearly visible and the surrounding area has become already depressed. Nearby water ponds have developed very peculiar tastes adding to the mystery.

The villagers first noticed the smoke coming out of the swamp area in 2007 and again in 2012. But there was no hole then as it all disappeared after sometime, according to the villagers.

But after a gap of three years, they now fear a natural disaster may strike in their area as smoke and ashes continue to come out from the holes.

Following the reports, Deputy Commissioner Modak Hrisheekesh Arvind has apprised the matter to the higher authority for immediate intervention and investigation. He has also directed the SDO Jessami to immediately look into the matter and report back.

In 2013, a suspected volcano-like eruption was reported in neighbouring new Tusom village in Ukhrul district which forced locals to evacuate the area when a deafening sound was followed by the rolling down of a huge boulder from a nearby hilltop. A lava-like liquid that flowed from the hill charred trees and plants on the slopes.

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