Amidst lockdown, more reserved forests set on fire; DFOs told to be on guard

TMB Report

IMPHAL: At a time when the country is passing through the COVID-19 scare, many reserved forest areas in the state have witnessed widespread wildfires kindled by unknown miscreants, forcing the state forest staffs on 24 hours red alert to contain the fire.

On Thursday, a forest fire broke out at the Luwangsangbam reserved forest area under the Langol Extension Reserved Forest. The fire was started by unknown miscreants and was detected by Forest Patrol team. The fire was doused completely after forest team fighting for about one and a half hours. In the incident Thompson, the head Forest Guard, fainted on the hill top due to smoke inhalation and heat, sources in the Central Forest Division Office said.

Chingkheiching Reserved Forest which has been without any incidences of forest fire this season was burnt by unknown miscreants yesterday. However, locals and forest field staffs could control the fire after fighting for about three hours.

Notably, Langol reserved forest was also repeatedly set on fire by the miscreants this year.

Forest Guards of Central Forest Division could arrest three persons suspected to have been involved in the forest fire at Punshikhul area of the Langol Reserved Forest On April 14.

With the sudden surge in the incidences of forest fires in the state, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, Manipur has all the DFOs, ACFs, Range Officers, Deputy Rangers, Head Forest Guards to remain at their station of posting without fail, cautioning that absence from the stations will attract disciplinary actions.

The territorial DFOs should furnish a certificate of presence at station on every 3rd day of the week which should be countersigned by the concerned CFs and uploaded by the concerned CFs on Forest Monitoring Group on Whatsapp on the last working day of every week.

All DFOs shall identify the strategic points in vulnerable areas of their jurisdiction and set up temporary camps and deploy 4 to 5 frontline field staff along with the fore fighting equipments in the camps during the entire fire season i.e upto 30th June 2020 or untill further orders. The staff deployed at camps shall patrol the area in uniform mandatorily day and night and also be in constant touch with JFMC members, local clubs and village pradhans and Chiefs. The action taken report should be submitted by the DFO to the concerned CFs and CCFs latest by April 18 2020, it stated.

The order stated that large number of forest fires in all the forest divisions of the state are being reported almost on daily basis during the current year which is leading to tremendous national loss of government property and that too when the country is passing through a national crisis in form of COVD-19. The protection of natural resources play a pivotal role in mitigating the adverse impact of any disaster/epidemic and they also help in reviving the economy in post disaster epidemic phase. Chief minister has viewed the rampant forest fire in the state seriously, it added.

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