Chennai: Tamil Nadu chief minister K Palaniswami said on 1 June that specialised training and equipment would be given to forest department personnel to rescue people and curb fires such as the Kurangani Hills wildfire which killed 20 people, who had gone trekking in March.
The training and equipment would be provided at a cost of Rs two crore, Palaniswami told the Assembly in a suo moto statement.
"Majority of wildfire happens because of human error," he said, adding the forest department was taking steps to rein in such incidents in Tamil Nadu and the new initiative will see personnel getting hands-on training.
For this purpose, a 70,000-sq-ft headquarters would be built at Velachery, Chennai for the forest department, as the existing facility is inadequate, he said. Also, 125 new jeeps would be bought at a cost of Rs 12.50 crore to be provided to the forest rangers.
In March 2018, 20 people died in the fire at Kurangani hills of Theni district, 520 kilometres away from Chennai.
A total of 39 persons — 12 from Erode and Tirupur and 27 from Chennai — had gone on a trek to the hills on 10 March and 20 had died in the blaze.
The state government had appointed a senior state official, Atulya Misra, as inquiry officer to probe into the circumstances leading to the death of the trekkers in Kurangani hills, and submit a report on the incident within two months.
Updated Date: Jun 09, 2018 17:33 PM