Arunachal panics as bushfire rages on

Arunachal panics as bushfire rages on

13 March 2012

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India– ITANAGAR: Even as a deafening crackling noise continues to emanate from the hills around the state capital that are in the grips of a wildfire, authorities, including the forest department, are at a loss to curb the menacing fire in the absence of necessary firefighting equipment and resources.

The hills around Itanagar, the only source of potable water for the entire capital region, burnt continuously for the third day. According to a forest official, dousing the fire at Dariya hills, which come under Itanagar Wildlife Sanctuary, is a daunting task as the state does not have the required resources to tackle such a massive bushfire. “We are expecting something miraculous – may the rain gods shower their blessings on the state capital region,” he added.

The official also informed that as a contingency measure, fire lines are being cut in cultivated land to create gaps in the vegetation to prevent further spread of the inferno. He said chances are the blaze is manmade rather than natural. In corroboration of his claim, city police arrested two persons from Raj Niwas on Monday for setting fire to the forest.

Meanwhile, Governor Gen (Retd) J J Singh said he was pained to see the pristine green stretch destroyed by fire. He said it is an ecological disaster, which will have a negative impact on the ecosystem for years to come.

Chief minister Nabam Tuki, who left for Canada yesterday morning, called up the concerned state authorities late Sunday night from New Delhi and expressed serious concern over the unstoppable fire. He demanded immediate steps be taken to prevent such outbreaks in future.

As directed by Tuki, the state authorities yesterday held a brainstorming session to discuss immediate steps to control the fire and to find ways to prevent any further outbreaks.

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