Chile / France DEHRADUN: The state forest department has got an initial cache of Rs 8 crore for fire preparations from the state government with which fire lines are going to be maintained. The department had asked for Rs 25 crore, whereby Rs 10 crore was meant for pre-fire preparation and the remaining amount was asked to deal with expenditures during the fire season.
Principal chief conservator of forests Rajender Mahajan told TOI, “We have got a budget of Rs 8 crore for the pre-fire preparations from the state government. With this, we have begun clearing the fire lines and burning the dry grass in the chir pine forests so that these do not aid in spreading the fire in the summer season. However, the intermittent rains are playing the spoilsport by wetting the grass these days. If weather continued like this, then we would have to halt the controlled burning and resume it in the month of March.”
He said, some 6000 daily wagers would be required to control the fire during the peak fire season. However, their training would be started in the month of February as and when the election comes to an end. He said, 3000 of these would be kept on stand-by, only to be used in those areas where more manpower would be required to extinguish extensive forest fire.
With the limited budget in their hand, he said, they would make no new purchases but would rather work on maintaining the old infrastructure and machinery. This would include maintenance of crew stations, repair of wireless or vehicles etc.
With most of the forest manpower and resources engaged in election duty, he accepted that the pre-fire preparations are being affected. “Even the forest department want to be part of the democratic process of election but we have to take care of our forests. Last year too, a lot of forests was gutted into fire. One forest guard in a beat needs many more helping hand to douse the fire. I am going to meet the higher officials in the state government to bring their attention to this aspect,” he said.
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