India — AMRAVATI: Forest fires are a raging concern in Melghat region. Recently a fire broke out in Gugamal national park which took the number of such incidents to 29 in the 1459-hectare Melghat region. Despite the spurt in such cases in just two months conservationists feel that the new government resolution released in October last year will help curb the menace.
According to the GR, 25% of the total fund will be diverted to forest fires – to create mechanisms to help prevent such incidents. From this year joint forest management committees (JFMC) and eco development committees (EDC) would get funds for developing preventive mechanisms in the village. They will spend the fund for various activities of forest development.
Every year the forest department takes measures to prevent the fires. But, due to the lack of funds, staff and vehicles, they are unable to control it. As field director of Melghat Tiger Project AK Mishra elucidated, “We have no extra staff for fire protection. We carve fire protection squads every year from the existing staff to check the forest fires in Melghat. Also we don’t have sufficient vehicles to tackle such scenario.”
But conservationists feel that if sufficient funds are available constructive steps can be taken. President of Satpuda Foundation Kishor Rithe said, “Considering the increasing forest fires, especially in summer, the state government has given special provision to JFMC and EDC to develop preventive mechanisms in the village. The GR would definitely help to curb fire incidents.”