Himachal Pradesh reels under rising forest fire incidents, hapless locals resent apathy by state govt

Shimla: Rising incidents of forest fires in Himachal Pradesh have affected an area of over 2,600 hectares of green cover with over 500 incidents causing damage to property in the state. Worse so, the incidents are increasing by the day at an alarming rate in and around Shimla town.

The residents in Totu, Chakkar, Tara Devi, Shogi, Bhatakufer and Mehli areas said that they are facing troubles due to the forest fire. They alleged that neither the forest department nor any fire control services have responded to the crisis in the region.

 Himachal Pradesh reels under rising forest fire incidents, hapless locals resent apathy by state govt

Representational image. Getty Images

Locals in Chakkar and Totu on Monday and Tuesday had to collectively douse the wildfires and save their houses from it. Praveen, a local of Chakkar area of Shimla said, "We called the fire services, yet no fire brigade or firemen came to our rescue. The administration also did not help us. Ultimately we had to douse the fire with whatever water we had collected on our own."

The locals alleged that the forest and fire departments spend a huge amount of money to constitute fire fighting teams but they all have failed to control the incidents of forest fire. They also said that the forest department's claims of helicopters being deputed to control the forest fire are fake.

Anay Kant, another resident said, "We left everything and started dousing the fire as soon as we got to know that the forest fire is reaching our homes. The government claims to have spend a lot on controlling the forest fire but nobody in the administration responded to our calls for help. Either the information has not reached the officials or they are not doing anything about it."

Even labourers are being hired by the residents to control the forest fire. Dev Raj, one of the labourers said, "We reached the spot and tried to douse the fire as soon as possible. We don't know about the help from the administration as we were busy in our work."

Forest Minister of the State, Govind Singh said that despite all efforts to sensitise the people about the forest they could not stop these incidents. He also added that the department has announced money rewards for those informing about the ones responsible for wildfires in the area.

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Updated Date: Jun 12, 2019 15:07:47 IST