Forests

Fire continues to rage in Uttarakhand forests; locals complain of govt inaction

Forest officials admit that they are facing resource crunch when it comes to tackling forest fires

 
By DTE Staff
Last Updated: Monday 21 May 2018
Around 898 hectares of forest land has been engulfed by forest fire in Uttarakhand with 542 fire incidents reported across the hill state till April 28. Credit: Vikas Choudhary
Around 898 hectares of forest land has been engulfed by forest fire in Uttarakhand with 542 fire incidents reported across the hill state till April 28. Credit: Vikas Choudhary Around 898 hectares of forest land has been engulfed by forest fire in Uttarakhand with 542 fire incidents reported across the hill state till April 28. Credit: Vikas Choudhary

Forest fire has been raging in Pauri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand for five days now. Srinagar, the largest town in the Garhwal Hills, is the worst affected with fire engulfing different parts of the forest area.

While locals residing in proximity to raging forests complain of inaction on the part of the administration, the forest department and Kalagarh tiger reserve officials admit that their efforts are being hindered by insufficient resources and manpower. According to media reports, the department has admitted that it has limited vehicles and equipment necessary to tackle forest fires.

Locals have been trying to douse the flames themselves in absence of intervention from the authorities. They also complain of difficulty in breathing due to the smoke. District Commissioner Dalip Jawalkar refused to comment on the situation when Down To Earth reached out to him.

Credit: Global Forest Watch

Javalkar has reportedly expressed concern over the consistent rise in forest fire incidents in Pauri district. While addressing media last week, he stressed that the forest department has to take additional efforts and prepare a plan for tackling the problem. He reportedly admitted that efforts made so to tackle the problem have not been sufficient.

Around 898 hectares of forest land has been engulfed by forest fire in Uttarakhand with 542 fire incidents reported across the hill state till April 28, according to data compiled by the forest department. While 171 fire incidents were reported in Kumaon division, 371 occurred in Garhwal division. Last year, around 1,228 hectares of forest land was gutted.

Credit: Forest Survey of India

Pauri Garhwal district is home to one of the last remaining stretches of dense forests in Uttarakhand.

According to Global Forest Watch, between May 13 and 20, Pauri Garhwal district has witnessed highest number of fire alerts among all districts in the country. It is followed by Amritsar and Ludhiana districts—both in Punjab—where agricultural stubble burning has seen steady rise over the past three weeks despite awareness campaigns and punitive measures.

The forest fire season in the country is between February and June.

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  • Forest fires are an yearly occurrence in Uttarakhand forests be it through nature or by the people. Inspite of having forest department teams, government officials, village panchayats one fails to understand why no one takes notice before hand. Why timely plans are not prepared to combat the fires. In fact, no one is interested. Had the dry leaves of pines been collected in time (which would have fetched employment to the people of uttarakhand) the fires would not have caused so much of havoc. The local leadership is interested only in votes. But where are the plans? Officials are interested only in post disaster operations.

    Posted by: Rekha Rawat | 5 months ago | Reply
  • Society is crying for protection from pollution,people making records for reforestation and making money.Why shouldn't we pay the people for protection of forest,won't that generate employment,davp publish about so many achievements of govts and parties .when there is season for forest fire like epidemics ,In society either people making lot of money from exploiting country's resources or people loosing the constitution al rights of belongingness of land , water and forests ,.THE YOUNG COUNTRY , Where young generation could be utilised for forest and other resources protection is being wasted , they're neither given desired education nor employment SHOCKINGLY retired officers are re-employed generating UNHAPPY YOUNG NATION FACING MALNUTRITION,THE PEOPLE ABIDE BY DOCTORS NOT TO EAT MUCH FOOD TAKE HOME FAT SALLARY FROM STATE .ARE WE REALLY MAKING THIS COUNTRY PROUD OR CFEATING HUNGRY , SICK , sad and hopeless nation.WHAT IS THE VALUE OF SUCH A YOUNG...........

    Posted by: Gajender | 5 months ago | Reply