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U’khand: Govt. assures commitment in dousing flames


New Delhi : Asserting the government’s priority at this point of time is to douse the fire which has blazed about thousands of hectares in Uttarakhand, Minister of State for Environment, Forests and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar on Sunday said that around 6,000 people have been deployed for fire fighting operations in the region.

“The government has taken it up very seriously. In the last one month, 1200 places have caught fire. A total of 1890 hectors areas have been affected. We will study reasons for the fire and will also come out with an action plan how to control it in future,” Javadekar told reporters.

“Our top officers, including DG of forests, are there at the spot. They (DG) are taking meetings and guiding local forces. 6000 people have been deployed for fire fighting operations,” he added.

Javadekar also said that the Centre had already granted Rs. five crore yesterday and would regularize it up to expenditure utilisation immediately.

“From today, we have started trial run of pre-fire alert. We are deploying it right away on trial basis,” he added.

Meanwhile, two Indian Air Force (IAF) choppers began spraying water over the burning forests in Uttarakhand this morning.

A seven-member crew of MI-17 chopper, headed by Wing Commander VK Singh, began the sortie in Nainital district. Forces are collecting water in ‘bambi buckets’ from the Bhimtal lake to be sprinkled over the worst affected areas — Kilbury, Nalenda, Almakhna in Nainital.

The fire raged yesterday even as three teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) were deployed in Almora, Gauchar and Pauri and one team of the State Disaster Response Fund in Nainital to extinguish the flames.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Governor K.K. Paul yesterday and assured him of providing all necessary assistance to control the fire.

The Governor has directed all District Magistrates of the affected districts to make full use of available resources to douse the fire.

The Nainital High Court has also expressed concern and directed that the fire should be controlled in the shortest possible time. (ANI)

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