Centre and State press alarms over Similipal forest fire

The Samikhsya Bureau

BHUBANESWAR: The forest fire that has engulfed the Similipal forest cover has caused worried for the Union and the State Government.

The fire that broke out a week ago is yet to be contained.

Union Forest Minister Prakash Javadekar, on Tuesday, directed officials to take immediate steps to control the fire in Similipal Tiger Reserve.

Union Minister from Odisha, Dharmendra Pradhan tweeted the fire as alarming as sought urgent intervention of Javadekar and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

Responding to Pradhan’s tweet, Javadekar has sought a report on the fire from the concerned authorities.

The Forest Department has already pressed its personnel into service to control the fire and protect the wildlife as well.

21 squads led by deputy rangers have been formed for each range across five divisions of Similipal region. Senior officers are stationed at Baripada, Rairangpur and Karanjia in Odisha region to monitor the operations.

Officials suspect the fire to be man-made. Usually, locals set trees on fire for Mahua collection leading to the situation, they said.