EnvironmentFeaturedInternationalinternational, political, nationalNationalUttarakhand

Amidst criticism over forest fire deaths, forest officials refute blame of negligence

Listen to this article

Amidst criticism over forest fire deaths, forest officials refute blame of negligence


Pithoragarh, June 15

Following the criticism of the forest department officials and action by the Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami against some senior forest officials, after four forest personnel were killed and four others were seriously injured in extinguishing forest fire in Binsar forest in Almora June 13, the forest officials have refuted the claims of negligence and claimed it as an accident in which forest personnel lost their lives in extinguishing the fire.

Four of them were burnt to death and four others were injured as they were surrounded by fire balls while extinguishing forest fires in Binsar sanctuary region of Almora forest division on Thursday.

The deceased have been identified as, Trilok Singh Mehta, Diwan Ram, Karan Arya and Puran Singh whereas the injured are Krishna Kumar, Kundan Singh, Bhagwat Singh and Kailash Bhatt. Two of the more seriously burnt personals have been referred to AIIMS Delhi for treatment.

Taking strict action and blaming higher forest officers for the incident, Uttarakhand chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami had suspended District Forest Officer (DFO), Almora and Conservator Forest (north) and attached Chief Conservator of Forest Kumaon region with the headquarter.

“It was an accident in which the experienced forest personals came in the grip of fire waves when the fire erupted suddenly as they could not guage the density of leaf litter  accumulated on forest bed,” said Dhananjay Mohan, a senior forest officer and head of forest fires in Uttarakhand.

Dhananjay Mohan said that  all employees who had gone to extinguish forest fire were experienced workers and had experience of tackling forest fires successfully in other locations.”It was not a case of deliberate negligence but of accident in which the personals got entangled with sudden eruption of fire on hills with 85 degree slope,” said Mohan.

The forest official blamed high temperature in the hills for sudden fire forest fires.

Asked if the ill-fated team was ill equipped from point of view of fire fighting equipments, Dhananjay Mohan said that fire extinguishing teams go to their tasks with required equipments.” We have shovels and other equipments at our crew stations during fire season and keep upgrading process of equipment taking lessons from the incidents,” claimed Head of Forest Fires in Uttarakhand.

The people of Almora town gathered to condole the deaths of forest employees died in extinguishing forest fire at Binsar forest and alleged that that they died as they had not been provided required equipments like helmets and shoes.”The fire blow was such sudden and intense that no equipment would have worked to save the personnel,” said Dhananjay Mohan.

Forest officials on the condition of anonymity said that the department had some years ago prepared a proposal to supply all requirements to employees at crew stations or headquarters before the start of fire season every year.”We have also recommended insurance of the fire fighting workers whether they are forest department employee or hired ones,” said an officer.



Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button
error: Content is protected !!