New Delhi, May 2: In wake of the deadly fire that engulfed various regions of the hill state of Uttarakhand, Union Minister of State for Environment, Forests and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar has said he has asked to deploy more than 10,000 employees to put out the forest fire in three-four days. According to media sources, latest satellite imageries of Uttarakhand show that of the 427 forest fires, 70 per cent have been doused, the National Disaster Response Force or NDRF has said.
The Army, the Air Force, three teams of the NDRF and 6,000 firefighters have been working round the clock to save the forest covers in the state. Mi-17 helicopters of the Air Force are deployed in the state to carry water from the Bhimtal lake and help douse the fires.
The National Disaster Response Force has pressed 130 members into service, each team is handling an area of 8 to 10 km, beating down the fire with green bushes. "It is expected that these figures (110-115 locations) will be brought down to 50-60 in the next few days by the combined forces fighting to douse the jungle fire," NDRF Director General O P Singh told media agencies on Sunday.
"More than 6,000 employees are already on the job, while DG (Forest) is leading and coordinating the operation from the front for the past two days," he said, adding that t6he government has already sanctioned the required amount. "The Prime Minister's Office (PMO), National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), and Indian Air Force are working in tandem, and I am sure that the fire will be put out in three-four days," he added.
Speaking about the reason behind the fire, he said extreme dry weather with no humidity was the reason behind the massive fire. "The government is taking the forest fires of Uttarakhand very seriously. We have granted Rs. 5 crore to the state yesterday," said Union minister Prakash Javadekar. Home Minister Rajnath Singh has held discussions with chief secretary and other officials of the Uttarakhand government. The Prime Minister's Office has also been briefed.
The deadly fire 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.