VALPOI: Minister for Forest Vishwajit Rane, reacting to a forest fire at Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary, said it was a deliberate attempt to create such forest fires.
“This is a deliberate attempt to create such forest fires; I have directed the PCCF to divert all the forest guards deployed in the respective areas to control the situation. Strict Action will be taken under the Forest Protection Act,” said Rane.
He further said that all DCFs will be posted at various ranges will launch an investigation, and if they discover any forest officials who haven’t done their jobs properly in relation to the forest fire, strict Action will be taken against these officers, and if necessary, dismissal will be ordered.
“The Chief Minister has also instructed all agencies to collaborate. We are working very hard to prevent further harm to the forest and immediately extinguish the fire,” he added.
The minister said that Indian Navy deployed a Dornier Aircraft to ascertain the ground situation and extent of fire areas, and a total of eight active fire locations were reported by the Navy consequent to the Aerial survey.
He said that in all locations, Forest Dept acted swiftly in coordination with all authorities and by late evening, the fire was doused successfully.
“I have directed Goa Forest Department to closely monitor the situation and take necessary action to control fire. There has been no major loss to flora & fauna.,” he informed.
Rane also said a forest fire was reported in Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary in a large area, including Charavane, Chorla Ghat, Pali, and Satrem. The cause of the fire is mostly man-made, and an inquiry is in progress to discover miscreants. At places, dead trees and wind flow further aggravated the fire,” the minister said.
Vishwajit also said that strict instructions are given to the DCF, orders have been issued to post DCFs in various ranges in all the areas and, entry into the wildlife sanctuaries will be prohibited, people will not be allowed to put wildfires.
“The RFOs & forest guards posted in their respective areas must stay there 24/7 to monitor wildfires. I have instructed the DCF that his team will be responsible and will have to explain whatever happens in the perimeters of the wildlife sanctuary,” he added.
Meanwhile, Rane said that his department will not allow the destruction of the Mhadei forest, and it is a collective responsibility of the department as well as the citizens of the state to protect and conserve wildlife.