State

CM directs various measures to tackle forest fires

Chairing a meeting on forest fire management on Monday, chief minister Tirath Singh Rawat directed that the money approved from the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) fund should be made available immediately at the field level. A plan should be prepared for the active involvement of 5,000 women in works related to forest fire management. Further, the ex-gratia to personnel and locals who die while fighting forest fires should be released without delay.Drones should be used for monitoring firelines and necessary equipment should be provided to the forest department personnel, he directed. The CM also said that the disaster management department should also arrange for a helicopter for extinguishing forest fires.

Reviewing preparations for forest fire management, the CM said that the involvement of Van Panchayats and locals is vital. He further said that forest, police, revenue and other departments concerned should work in full coordination. The district magistrates should also regularly review the situation while also ensuring availability of necessary human resources and equipment. Rawat also sought information on preparations for managing forest fires from district magistrates via video conferencing. He said that those who intentionally set up fires should be identified. Further, compensation should be provided as per standards for disasters in case of damage caused by forest fires. An effective mechanism should be made to ensure that money for Pirul (dry pine needles) collected is paid on time.

Officials informed in the meeting that controlled fires are set up every year for mitigation of forest fires in about 36,000 hectare forest area. Forest lines totalling to about 2,700 kilometres in length are maintained in the state. About 7,000 fire watchers from among the local residents are also deployed every year. There are 40 master control rooms, 1,317 crew stations and 174 watch towers in the state, informed the officials. Chief secretary Om Prakash, principal chief conservator of forests Rajiv Bhartari and other officials were also present in the meeting.

Tuesday, 16 March 2021 | PNS | Dehradun

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