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Tuesday, April 16th 2024
Today's Paper

‘Forest fires’: PCCF chairs UT Level Monitoring Committee meet

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JAMMU: Principal Chief Conservator of Forests & HoFF, Roshan Jaggi today chaired the 8th meeting of the UT Level Monitoring Committee on Forest Fire Prevention and Management.

The meeting was attended by APCCF Kashmir, CCF Jammu, Environmental experts Dr. C M Seth and Nadeem Qadri, and other senior officers from the Forest Department.

During the meeting, the preparedness of the Forest Department to combat the ensuing fire season in summer months was reviewed.

The PCCF & HoFF, instructed the field officers of the Social Forestry Department, Wildlife Protection Department and Forest Protection Force to be on high alert and in full readiness and respond to fire incidents immediately.

The DFOs were instructed to publicize toll free numbers of the department to receive firsthand information on any forest fire occurrence. He further instructed that the fire alerts issued by the Forest Survey of India shall be responded on priority and action taken to control the fire be reported by 11 A.M. every day.

The PCCF reviewed the budgetary provisions to take care of mobility of men and resources to combat forest fires.

Chief Wildlife Warden, Sarvesh Rai stressed upon the smooth functioning of joint control rooms so that the protected areas are also kept fire-incidence free. He suggested fortnightly meetings by the Block Forest Officers at the local level to sensitize all the stakeholders and take stock of the situation.

Dr. C M Seth, (Retd. IFS & Environmental Activist Jammu), suggested raising awareness amongst both rural and urban population through panel discussions and catchy jingles on radio and other outreach programs for the next three months of forthcoming fire season.

Nadeem Qadri, (Environmental Lawyer, Srinagar) stressed upon the importance of coordination between the departments to prevent forest fires in the protected areas, especially Dachigam National Park.

The PCCF emphasized on the importance of immediate response to forest fire incidents during the golden hour which remains crucial to counter forest fires and prevent loss to human life as well as forest resources.

The preparedness of the forest department to prevent forest fires in the Trikuta Hills especially along the Yatra track to Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine was also reviewed and necessary directions were passed on to DFO Reasi to coordinate with Shrine Board and pool the resources and ensure the yatra is free from any unforeseen eventualities.

The PCCF stressed upon coordination with the State Disaster Response Force in all vulnerable areas.

It was decided that services of State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) & Fire Services department shall also be utilized wherever feasible to control the fires.