India– Leopards were spotted in residential areas of Dagshai. Ravi Sharma, a resident, said the staff of Army Public School had seen six leopards in the area.
He said fear had gripped residents as they had stopped venturing out.
The leopards have not attacked anyone so far, but cattle grazers are worried that they might lose their animals. The rising fire incidents might have forced the leopards to enter the residential areas, said another resident.
The forest area is being cleared for commercial activities. Fire incidents have further worsened the situation, said HK Sharma, an environmentalist.
Fire incidents keep taking place in and around the area, especially along the highways and roads.
DFO Prem Mahajan said about 192 hectares had been gutted so far and that there was no major loss to the forest area.
He said fire control measures such as setting up of control rooms at the divisional and range levels, formation of forest fire team leaders and task forces were in place to protect forests, plantation and nurseries. He added that fire watchers were deployed to deal with emergencies.
The officials have also started the forest fire alert messaging system. The system was launched by the Chief Minister in August 2013 and is part of the portal created by the National Remote Sensing Centre, Hyderabad, and GIS cell of HP Forest Department. Mobile numbers of the field staff have been uploaded by GIS cell.