Odisha forms high-level taskforce to battle forest fire

  • | Monday | 8th March, 2021

Concerned over the burning of several forests across the State, Odisha on Monday formed a task force on ‘Forest Fire Management’ to fight against the blaze.

Concerned over the burning of several forests across the State, Odisha on Monday formed a task force on ‘Forest Fire Management’ to fight against the blaze.

The taskforce which includes three experts from Hyderabad and Dehradun will be headed by Dr Sandeep Tripathy, former Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) and Head of Forest Force (Hoff).

The high-level team includes the incumbent PCCF I/c Jitendra Kumar, PCCF Wildlife I/c Sashi Paul, Pankaj Agarwal, Representative of DG, ICFRE Dehradun, Head of Forest & Ecology, NRSC, Hyderabad, P K Mallick, J K Panigrahy and BijayAgrawal.

According to sources, a press briefing will be organized daily at 4.30 PM at Aranya Bhawan, Near Fortune Tower, Bhubaneswar from today for next 15 days regarding Forest Fire Management in Similipal Bio-reserve.

The taskforce will be responsible for reviewing of on-going forest fire incidence, causes and immediate containment. Moreover, it will suggest measures for augmentation of existing Fire Management Protocols including Geomatics based Fire Alert System.

Besides, the panel will also recommend suggestions for improved community participation in Fire Management and Prevention, to conduct Post Assessment of Forest Fire affected area, loss to wildlife, biodiversity and suggest appropriate measures for augmentation and give suggestions for improvement of SOP for Fire Prevention and Management in State to prevent and restrain such fire occurrences.

Speaking on the situation, PCCF I/c Jitendra Kumar said, “Wildfires in forest areas of the State are not new but a natural phenomenon. Like every year, fires generally spread on bushes and shrubs but do not affect trees.”

Meanwhile, Opposition chief whip Mohan CharanMajhi today targeted the Odisha government over the wildfire menace. Coming down heavily on the ruling BJD government at a press conference here Majhi said, “As many 919 forests across Odisha are burning which is alarming. While the government is claiming that the fires have been doused, but the actual scenario tells a different story.”

“Despite the availability of modern techniques to contain the wildfire, the State government has failed to restrict the spreading of fire. A BJP delegation will meet Chief Secretary and raise the issue in the State Assembly on April 12,” Majhi added.

On the other hand, BJP MLA Subhash Panigrahi has alleged that the government is intentionally setting the forests on fire to cover up Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) fund corruption.

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