Task force formed, 399 teams deployed to contain forest fire in Odisha: Minister

Bhubaneswar: The state government has constituted a special taskforce for devising strategy to contain forest fire in Odisha.

This was revealed by Forest, Environment and Climate Change Minister Pradip Kumar Amat in the Assembly today.

“The state government is applying special technology to douse forest fire. A taskforce has been constituted to provide advice to the government on the issue,” Amat said while replying to an Adjournment Motion moved by Opposition BJP and Congress in the House today.

As many as 399 teams have been deployed across the state to douse the forest fire. The teams have been provided with modern equipment. A round-the-clock control room has been set up to monitor the situation, added the minister.

As many as 22,786 fire points were reported across the state till March 13. The Forest department employees have managed to douse the flames at 22,316 points, Amat said.

Earlier, Congress MLA Santosh Singh Saluja alleged a nexus between the timber mafia and Forest department officials in Odisha.

“Several officials of the Forest department including a few Divisional Forest Officers (DFOs) and Forest Rangers are involved in massive corruption. Our state will turn into a desert if we fail to contain the forest fire at the earliest,” said the Congress Legislator while speaking during the Adjournment Motion.

He also sought to know how many persons have been arrested for lighting fire inside the forests. “The state government should clarify regarding the amount spent under the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) for planting saplings,” Saluja said.

The BJP MLAs stage a walkout expressing displeasure over the minister’s reply to the Adjournment Motion.

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