Despite preventive steps, fire continues to raze in Similipal 

Belying the tall claims of Similipal Tiger Reserve (STR) authorities of putting in place preventive measures to check forest fire, several parts of the biosphere continue to be razed by blaze,

Published: 17th March 2018 01:48 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th March 2018 02:20 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

BARIPADA:  Belying the tall claims of Similipal Tiger Reserve (STR) authorities of putting in place preventive measures to check forest fire, several parts of the biosphere continue to be razed by blaze, thereby endangering precious flora and fauna. A couple of days back, a major fire broke out in Sitakund and Lulung of Similipal and its nearby areas of Sapanchua and Rangamatia. The fire also spread to Kaptipada, Sarat, Bangiriposi and Dukura under Baripada Forest Division, Bisoi in Rairangpur Division and Jashipur and some other areas under Karanjia Division. Sources said if uncontrolled, the fire would spread to Chahala, Na’ana, Barehipani, Barhakamuda , Gudgudia, Dhuduruchampa, lower Jenabil and Dudhiani range areas in STR division.

Environmentalist Vanoo Mitra Acharya said the fire is man-made. “It is suspected that poachers are behind the blaze. Poachers set forests on fire to chase animals to their trap,” he said. Moreover, forest dwellers also set ablaze forest areas to collect Mahua flowers during the spring season. Due to the fire, small animals, reptiles and precious trees including medicinal plants are destroyed, Acharya said. Earlier, Forest officials had claimed to have deployed adequate manpower, high-power air blowers besides vehicle services and safety equipment to check the spread of fire in areas under Baripada, Karanjia and Rairangpur territorial divisions of the STR.

However, it is alleged that not a single member of the fire squads or watchers deployed by the authorities were seen when the blaze spread to Sitakund and Lulung. Moreover, Forest personnel deployed at Pithabata Beat House and entry point of Similipal National Park, which is situated at a distance of only 1.5 km from Sitakund and 2 km from Lulung, did not visit the affected areas, sources said. Contacted, Baripada DFO Swayam Kumar Mallik said there are eight ranges which come under his division.

The Forest department has already engaged personnel to prevent the spread of fire, he claimed. Deputy Director of STR Jagyandatta Pati said fire squads have been engaged in seven forest ranges. Regional Chief Conservator of Forest and Field Director of STR M Mohan said unaware of the consequences, locals set non-forest areas on fire for collection of Mahua flowers. However, they forget to put out the fire which subsequently spreads to forests, he added.

Stay up to date on all the latest Odisha news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp