India — As a forest fire approached the Kyara village, situated in vicinity of Sariska Tiger Reserve, officials of state forest department and district administration of Alwar locked horns, each shirking responsibility.
According to villagers, the forest fire started in the bushes near Thanagazi on Sunday but the authorities were clueless even after 48 hours as the fire kept raging in more than 15 square kilometres within miles of the Sariska reserve until shepherds going into the hilly terrain reported it.
“We were informed about the fire on Tuesday morning but it did not fall within our jurisdiction. However, we informed the local administration about it as it’s their responsibility,” Jai Kishan, assistant conservator of forest (ACF), Alwar said.
On the other hand, the local administration said that they were busy in a camp organised under Prashsahn Gaon ke Sang campaign in the nearby Kishori village, which is 2 km away from the site. “We received the information about the fire today [Tuesday] but could not reach the spot as we were busy in the camp. I don’t know if the fire is still raging,” Vinay Nagayach, sub-divisional magistrate (SDM), Thanagazi said.
Allegedly the fire started from a pyre ignited by woodcutters to get rid of the chilly winds.
When DNA reached the spot late on Tuesday evening the fire was still simmering at many places near the Golradi area.
“The villagers had spotted the fire on Sunday evening but forest officials did not come until Tuesday. And even when the forest official did arrive on Tuesday they refused to act as the area did not fall under their jurisdiction. Later, the villagers doused the fire,” Laxmikant Meena, a village said.