India — NAGPUR – Close on the heels of miscreants setting Navegaon National Park on fire, Nagzira and New Nagzira wildlife sanctuaries too felt the heat of ground forest fires in the past five days.
TOI on April 9 had reported quoting officials that over 1,500 hectares in Navegaon park was burned in man-made fire. However, on Wednesday, officials pegged the area to 1,218 hectares.
Learning about the incident, state’s head of forest force (HoFF) AK Joshi and additional principal chief conservator of forests (APCCF) SS Mishra reviewed the fire situation in Nagzira on Wednesday and are camping in Navegaon.
According to assistant conservator of forests (ACF) Ashok Khune, at least 55 hectares of forest was damaged in Nagzira ground fires while it was around 36 hectares in adjoining New Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary. “The fires have entered the sanctuaries from outside,” he added.
Fires entered New Nagzira sanctuary from Sonegaon, Kisanpur, Risada, Deozara, Sarra, Pangdi and other areas. The fire has also spread from proposed Koka sanctuary, sources said.
Joshi was not reachable. However, principal secretary (forests) Praveen Pardeshi said incidences of forest fires were less than one-third as compared to last year.
Listing out figures, he said in Gondia last year 1,540 hectares was damaged while this year it is 450 hectares. In Allapalli division it was 5,300 hectares last year while it is 2,000 hectares this time. In Tadoba, last year area burned in buffer was around 1,000 hectares while this year it is 50 hectares.
Pardeshi added as per tender conditions, tendu auctions where fires have occurred cannot be auctioned, rest will continue.
Meanwhile, territorial officials informed that ACF of Navegaon Pramod Panchbhai arrested two miscreants, said to be managers of tendu contractors, for setting forest afire.
When Panchbhai was returning from Gondia, at 8.30pm he saw two persons igniting fire near Murdoli in Goregaon range. Seeing his vehicle the miscreants fled but both the accused were later traced from their vehicle number. The culprits have been identified as Sheshkumar Rahangdale, 30, and Bhojram Bisen, both residents of Kalpatri. The duo was released on bail on Wednesday.