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Congress should not politicize Uttarakhand fire: BJP

Congress should not politicize Uttarakhand fire: BJP

New Delhi : The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday alleged that the Congress Party was attempting to score political points over the devastating fires in Uttarakhand and said that they should instead divert their attention in helping the people of the hill state in this hour of crisis.

BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli said the scale of the forest fires in Uttarakhand has been huge and unprecedented.

“Till about three to four days ago, there were almost five hundred spots where fire was raging that till last evening has been controlled and brought to about 125 places. More than ten thousand people are involved in the operation, the (Indian) Air Force is involved, Homeguard, Police, various aspects even the Civil Defence, various agencies and all are putting their best foot forward,” Kohli told ANI here.

“Control has been brought, but why is the Congress Party politicizing it. Does their political interest mean that they desire the fires in Uttarakhand should rage and do they serve the people of Uttarakhand by ensuring, instead of helping in the situation that the fire should be more so that they can score some political point? I don’t know what kind of political thinking the Congress Party has,” he added.

As forest fires continue to rage and intensify across Uttarakhand, three Mi-17 helicopters of the Indian Air Force (IAF) yesterday dumped loads of water on the blaze in Nainital and Pauri districts.

At least seven people have died and 15 others injured in the fires so far. About 2,269 hectares of forested land have been destroyed with Pauri, Nainital, Rudraprayag, Tehri and Almora districts bearing most of the brunt.

The authorities claimed the situation was gradually getting better, and the latest satellite imagery of forest fires shows the blaze has been extinguished in over 75 percent of the affected area in the hill state.

Minister of State for Environment, Forests and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar yesterday said that the Centre was taking the matter “very seriously” and “have deployed 6,000 people”, including from the NDRF, for firefighting “with a grant of Rs. five crores to the state” for more manpower.

The Congress Party has not only blamed the Centre for fuelling a political crisis in a peaceful state but also said it has miserably failed to tackle a major environmental tragedy.

“On one side Modi government is fuelling the fire of political defection in the peaceful state of Uttarakhand and on the other side the government has miserably failed to tackle one of the biggest environmental tragedies of recent times,” said Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala. (ANI)