India — Even as fire-fighters prevented extensive devastation in Chingmei ching (hill-lock), located in the Keibul Lamjao national Park after wildfire broke out there this afternoon, nearly 5-6 hectares of a botanical garden (arboretum) in Langol Reserve Forest have been consumed by wildfire some days back.
According to Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF) AK Rana a wildfire broke out at Langol hill range some days back substantially destroying an orchid garden and other plants and trees nurtured at an arboretum.
Informing that the fire that raged through the reserve forest area caused devastation to 5-6 hectares of the arboretum specifically established for preservation and culture sapling in addition to inflaming the adjacent orchid garden, the PCCF confided that officials concerned have been asked to furnish a detailed report on cause of the wildfire and quantum of devastation.
Stating that under the department Joint Forest Management Committees are entrusted to form ‘fire lines’ to protect forest and plantation zones, he also conceded that controlling wildfire or deliberate burning of forest for jhum cultivation is beyond the ambit of the Department.
Appealing to all concerned to desist from setting forest afire, Rana suggested that even if farmers burn at their cultivation sites necessary steps should be taken to prevent spread of fire.
Noting prevailing problem of acute shortage of water in the State, he said the Forest Department had sent a proposal to the Govt for implementation of an externally aided project to preserve the forests in the catchment area of Singda, Imphal, Khuga, Iril and Thoubal rivers.
On the otherhand, timely action by personnel of Fire Brigade and Forest Guard averted possible devastation of Chingmei Ching where wildfire reportedly broke out at around 2.30 pm today.