New Delhi, May 1: Making a statement today, Minister of State of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar, said that the Government has taken the forest fire in Uttarakhand seriously and Rs. 5 crore has been allotted for firefighting efforts and 6000 labourers have been deployed for firefighting efforts. The Centre has also started from today, the trial-run of generating pre-fire alerts. The following is the text of the statement by on the forest fire in Uttarakhand.
Javadekar said that the Government and the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change have taken the forest fire of Uttarakhand very seriously. Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has taken the fire very seriously and a meeting was held yesterday. Also, he stated that the Home Ministry, NDRF and Air Force are guiding the efforts. In the last month, fire broke out in more than 1200 places and more than 1900 hectares of forest has been affected by the fire.
While addressing the media today, the Minister said that in 2012, fire had broken out in more than 1300 places and more than 2000 hectares area was affected. These kind of forest fires break out during the summer season. Our top forest officers, including Director General of Forest are on-the-spot since yesterday. They have been holding meetings and guiding local workforce.
"Today, 6000 labourers have been deployed for firefighting. The expenditure required for firefighting efforts will be granted. Yesterday, we have granted Rs. 5 crore. We have been issuing fire alerts since last year through satellite. Today, we have started the trial-run of generating pre-fire alerts. This is a new technology developed by our forest institutes" Javadekar said.
"An SMS will be immediately sent to the concerned departments. Local television channels are running 30-second spots telling people how to take care of such fires and how they can also contribute to firefighting efforts. We will study the reasons for such fires and come out with an action plan on how to control them in future all over the country", the Minister stated.
The deadly fire in Uttarakhand destroyed more than 2270 hectares of forest area and killed six people of forest land in Kumaoun and Garhwal regions of Uttarakhand, the Centre has deployed two MI-17 helicopters to douse the forest blaze. In all, three NDRF teams comprising of 135 personnel have been deployed into service in the hill state.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Governor K.K. Paul yesterday and assured all necessary assistance to control the fire. The Governor has also directed all District Magistrates of the affected districts to make full use of available resources to douse the fire. The Nainital High court has also expressed concern and directed to control the fire in the shortest possible time.