NEW DELHI: Speaking about the measures being taken by the Centre to contain the Uttarakhand forest fire, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday said that he was in regular touch with officials of the hill state, adding the situation was under control.
“I am in regular tough with local officials and have also spoken to the Governor (K.K. Paul). I have discussed the fire issue with officials at the Centre and took stock of the situation there (in Uttarakhand) and directed officials on the measures that need to be taken,” he told ANI.
Stating that he has been informed the situation is normal in the hill state, Rajnath added whether it is the Indian Air Force, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) or the local administration all of them are putting their best efforts.
The Home Minister, who reviewed the situation yesterday, has offered all assistance to the hill state.
He held discussions with the Chief Secretary and other officials of the Uttarakhand Government. He also discussed the crisis during a telephonic conversation with Uttarakhand Governor K.K. Paul.
As forest fires continue to rage and intensify across Uttarakhand, three Mi-17 helicopters of the Indian Air Force (IAF) yesterday dumped loads of water on the blaze in Nainital and Pauri districts.
At least seven people have died and 15 others injured in the fires so far. About 2,269 hectares of forested land have been destroyed with Pauri, Nainital, Rudraprayag, Tehri and Almora districts bearing most of the brunt.
The authorities claimed the situation was gradually getting better, and the latest satellite imagery of forest fires shows the blaze has been extinguished in over 75 percent of the affected area in the hill state.
Minister of State for Environment, Forests and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar yesterday said that the Centre was taking the matter “very seriously” and “have deployed 6,000 people”, including from the NDRF, for firefighting “with a grant of Rs. five crores to the state” for more manpower.