India — TIRUPATI: Taking serious view of frequent fires in Tirumala forests, the forest department is contemplating to use two helicopters in fire-fighting operations.
Disclosing this to mediapersons, forest minister Satrucherla Viajayaramaraju, who� inspected the forest area, which was� gutted in a mishap at Elephant Arch on the ghat road, a couple of days ago, said� forest fires occur frequently in Tirumala Hills during summer season.
“To ensure that precious forest wealth is not lost, we are contemplating� to use two choppers for putting out fire from the sky by dumping chemical� substances. However, a final decision in this regard will be taken after the� government approval, he explained.
The minister said that to closely monitor the movements in the forest area, special watch squads will be deployed, which will also help in alerting the officials about� any fire mishap.
On red sander smuggling, he said that efforts are on to contain it. He said the forest department has succeeded in seizing 575 tonnes of the precious wood worth 253 crore and 409 vehicles and arrested 1,364 persons of which 67 were booked under the PD Act.
He said that high-level officials team has met Union minister of environment Jayanti Natarajan regarding the clearing of red sanders, that got piled up in the forest department stock yards. A one time settlement was proposed to clear the stocks, he added. Speaking on the political situation in the state, he said YS Jagan Mohan Reddy is only an heir for his fathers personal fortune and not a political heir of YS Rajasekhara Reddy.
The minister exuded confidence that the Congress will emerge victorious in the by-elections to 18 Assembly constituencies.
On Vayalar Ravis visit, he said that leaders from Delhi come and go, there is nothing to read into it.
Later, he went to Elephant Arch area where the fire broke out. He told mediapersons that only 50 hectares of the forest land was gutted, as the fire broke out due to dried up grass. He reiterated that no flora and fauna was damaged in the forest fire.