Shimla, June 15

The devastating and unprecedented forest fires are counting in like an endemic Jangi Chilgoza forest in Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh couldn’t be brought under control since the last five days as it is spread over several kilometres area. National convener of Nature Watch India Rajeshwar Singh Negi said in a letter issued to the  government that there is complete apathy and abdication of government accountability and responsibility

concerning the widespread occurrence of forest fires in Himachal, which are raging unabated since March of this year.” Casually blaming it on the heat and dry weather, when most such fires are set in late evenings and at night, obviously by humans, across all weather conditions displays that not the authority is not doing proper research.

Ironically, ‘Vanmahotsava’s’ and ‘ The World Environment Day’ are held with much fanfare boasting of increasing forest cover and people penalised for cutting a Tree. In contrast, Lacs of saplings, trees and Wild life are allowed to be burnt and destroyed every year . This scourge has now entered the High altitude Tribal areas of Kinnaur, with the Pastures- rich with Herbs and commercially valuable Chilgoza forests being set ablaze every Summer.

He said one such forest fire is consuming the largest stretch of Chilgoza forest in India: across the Akpa -Jangi belt in Kinnaur. It is the primary livelihood source for thousands of residents of that area. The response of the local administration has been ineffective and casual, he complained.
He said that Chief Minister should order the Deputy Commissioner of Kinnaur to co-ordinate and direct all forest and Civil Defense personnel to put the fire out immediately and, if need be,to take the help of the ITBP Units stationed there too. He said the administration should identify and book those responsible under the relevant sections of the IPC and the Forest Conservation Act 1980.

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