Highest number of forest fire incidents occurred in Odisha: Union Minister

Bhubaneswar: The Centre today informed Odisha has the highest number of forest fire incidents from November 2020 to June 2021. Replying to an unstarred question in Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Ashwini Kumar Choubey stated the Forest Survey of India (FSI) under the Ministry had sent 3,45,989 forest fire alerts during November 2020 to June 2021.

As per the data provided by the Union Minister, 51,968 forest fire alerts were sent to Odisha during the period. The State had received 10602 forest fire alerts from November 2019 to June 2020 and 19,159 alerts from November 2018 to June 2019.

The Central government had released Rs 400.55 lakhs to Odisha under the Forest Fire Prevention & Management Scheme, the data showed.

The Minister further stated, “The responsibility of forest fire prevention and management lies primarily with the respective State/UT. The Ministry supports the efforts of the States/ UTs in prevention and control of forest fire by providing financial assistance under the Centrally sponsored scheme “Forest Fire Prevention and Management” for taking measures such as modern tools for fire extinguishing, use of communication and information technology, etc creation and maintenance of fire lines in forest areas, engagement of fire watchers including from the local community, creation of water storage structures in forest areas, strengthening of forest infrastructure, procurement of firefighting equipment, soil and moisture conservation works in high risk areas, awareness creation, incentivizing villages/communities for protection against forest fire etc.”

MDMK MP Vaiko had sought a reply from the Union Minister on the details of forest fire incidents in different parts of the country, State/UT- wise and whether the Central Government has made any efforts to reduce forest fire incidents by involving locals and NGOs.

He also wanted to know the details of the central assistance provided to the State Governments during the last three years to prevent forest fire incidents.

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