Îndia — Athagarh, Baramba, Khuntuni, Narsinghpur (East) and Narsinghpur (West) ranges under Athagarh forest division are now under threat of fire as everyday huge forest properties are being gutted due to fire at one part or the other.
As the department is short of manpower with the non-gazetted officers holding cease work, the entire forest division has gone into the clutches of the mafias and poachers. Most dense forests are catching fire everyday, which are both manmade and natural.
Sukasan reserve forest under Athagarh range, Baniabandha reserve forest and Gobora reserve forest under Khuntuni range, Chandragiri reserve forest and Tareigonda reserve forest under Baramba range, Devuin and Nuagarh reserve forests under Narsinghpur (East) range and Balikiari reserve forest under Narsinghpur (West) range areas are reportedly losing huge forest resources due to fire for last two days. As the forest goes unguarded, the fire is not doused. Hence the fire has been spreading from one part to the other.
A forest officer attributed the spread of the fire to staff crunch. Meanwhile, due to the constant fire, the local temperature has shot up to 40 degree Celsius leading to heat wave in the vicinity. This has all happened due to the cease work of the forest personnel.
While huge forest resources are being destroyed daily, the State Government has been apathetic to the problems of the forest officials and is delaying in fulfilling their genuine demands, observed the intelligentsia here.