IMPHAL, May 12: The Safe Environment Campaign Committee has questioned the seriousness of the State Forest Department on forest management and conservation programmes, owing to its alleged lack of any attempts to stop forest fire despite increasing rate of such incidents in the State year by year.
A press release issued by the chairman of SECC today explained that a forest fire occurred at Heingang Reserved Forest yesterday, which caused extensive damage.
Shockingly, this is the 8th forest fire to occur in the same area during the last three months, it stated adding that the fire is suspected to have originated from a farm located nearby at Pangei Nepali Basti in the morning of the same day. It narrated that even though forest officials from Central Forest Division struggled to control the fire from the morning, the fire continued to spread to other sides of the hill at Heingang and Mongjam till late evening.
Sensing the helplessness of the forest staff, volunteers of SECC, Heingnang, rushed to the scene at around 6.30 pm and helped in controlling the fire, which was finally put out at around 9 pm, it added.
Mentioning that by that time the fire had already damaged around 20 hectares of forest area, SECC reasoned that the damage would have been far less if there had been some precautionary measures like making fire lines, regular patrolling, proper coordination with local volunteers with some fire control kits by the Forest Department.
SECC lamented that it is quite shocking to witness increasing number of forest fires in the State year after year and alleged that sometimes, forest fires have been witnessed burning for days and nights without any attempt by the Forest Department to control it.
This has raised questions on the seriousness of the State Forest Department on forest management and conservation programmes, it claimed.
On the other hand, SECC also appealed to all the villagers living in and around the forest area to refrain from lighting fire at the forests as it will only add to the existing problems of environment destruction.