Update: Raging forest fires in Uttarakhand have killed five people.
Dehradun: Three teams of NDRF comprising 135 personnel have been deployed to control fire in forests in Uttarakhand on Saturday. NDRF DG OP Singh informed that operation has begun. The fire is still on and is not yet under control.
Taking a serious note of the raging forest fires in different parts of the state, Uttarakhand Governor KK Paul had decided to double the number of personnel engaged to douse the flames from 3000 to 6000 on Friday.
The decision was among several decisions taken at an Advisory Council meeting chaired by Mr Paul late on Thursday evening to address the problems of forest fires and drought in the state. Five hundred personnel from the fire brigade had been deployed to help in controlling the fires.
In every district, 100 PRD personnel were posted for the safety of revenue forests. This number was thought to be increased later, an official release Dehradun said.
It was decided that Rs. 5 crore would be released for buying fire control equipment from SDRF.
Tankers were sent to provide water in wildlife parks and DMs were instructed to arrange for extra tankers according to the requirement in their respective districts.
All officials concerned was directed to work under an action plan on a war footing to deal with forest fires and drought conditions.
For immediate relief, tankers were arranged and on a long term basis, traditional water sources were revived and preserved, it was directed.
The Governor said all directions given till now about forest fires must be followed strictly.
All Van panchayats, mahila mangal dals, self help groups and yuvak mangal dals must be active and support the efforts to check forest fires.
Police and homeguard personnel were activated.
Commandant of SDRF was asked to provide help to DMs. DMs have been told to monitor the situation on a daily basis. The governor will review the work on a weekly basis. The first review will be on April 30 through videoconferencing.
The DMs have been instructed that they should immediately provide the compensation amount to families affected by the forest fires.
It was also decided that other departments should also work in coordination with each other to check forest fires. A strict watch be kept on elements who are involved in illegal felling in forests.
Van panchayats and home guards can help in doing this, the Governor said.
Any negligence in following the directions given for checking forest fires and for providing potable water will not be allowed, he said.