PANAJI: Forest Minister Vishwajit Rane said that a total of 34 cases have been registered under various laws against two knowns and the rest unknown persons and an investigation is underway.
“A total of 34 cases has been registered under various laws against two known and the rest unknown persons. The investigation is underway,” said Rane.
He further said that to restore the forest fire-affected areas within the jurisdiction of the Forest Department, the site-specific plantation is being carried out during this monsoon season.
“To undertake restoration plantation in fire-affected areas within the jurisdiction of Forest Department, Area affected by fire in Cortalim constituency is outside the jurisdiction of Forest Department,” he added.
Rane said that the Collector, South and other authorities have been requested to ensure the restoration of plantation activity. The Forest Department will provide the required technical assistance and sapling free of cost.
A forest department probe into the bushfires that impacted an area of about 4 sq km in Goa in the first half of March is learnt to have concluded that the fires were largely triggered by natural causes, confirming the central government’s submission to Parliament last month that a “prolonged dry spell, unprecedented high temperatures, and low humidity” caused “sporadic” fire incidents in the state.
Helicopters of the Navy and Air Force have flown multiple sorties to douse fires on inaccessible hilltops in the Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary.
Opposition parties and environmentalists have alleged the fires were “man-made”, deliberately lit by vested interests.
Even the state Forest Minister, Vishwajit Rane, had said in March that the fires were “man-made”. The opposition renewed its demand for a high-level investigation after a new fire was reported in South Goa.
Leader of Opposition Yuri Alemao also alleged that a “fire mafia” could be behind the recent fires at Paroda Hills and in the Chapoli dam area.