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Forest fire in Similipal National Park ‘contained’

The state Task Force chief, Sandeep Tripathy asserted today that the forest fire situation in the state is totally under control now. He insisted that the fire in Simlipal National Park has been contained and only five fire points were reported today as against 26 and 24 points over the last two days.

Statesman News Service | Bhubaneswar |

Members of a central team deputed by Union Minister Prakash Javedkar to assess and assist in combating the forest fire at Similipal National Reserve arrived here even as the fire was contained.

The central team was deputed following a petition by a BJP delegation.

Significantly, the fire has already been contained and to cap it the central teams arrival was preceded by rain in the region helping the state forest officials and others in their fire dousing measures.

Amit Mallick of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) reached here and was joined by RCCF of Eastern Regional Office of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Bhubaneswar, Subrat Mahapatra. A third member R P Choudhury is likely to join the team soon.

The team is to visit Podadiha and Thakurmunda forest tomorrow.

The state Task Force chief , Sandeep Tripathy asserted today that the forest fire situation in the state is totally under control now.

He insisted that the fire in Simlipal National Park has been contained and only five fire points were reported today as against 26 and 24 points over the last two days.

The IMD has also forecast further rains over the next three days, he noted.

Tripathy said the massive up-scaling of manpower & infrastructure in terms of engagement of more fire watchers, almost doubling of leaf blowers, with massive community engagement & mobilization coupled with day & night efforts of field staff is helping in containing the fire.

Eight ODRAF teams, PRI members have joined the operation.

The Forest Survey of India (FSI) satellite based forest points, however , showed an increase in fire points across forests in the state. The fire points have risen from 497 to 1048 points in the past 24 hours.

Significantly, the ruling BJD youth activists mobilized by MLA Pranab Prakash Das volunteered and joined the fire fighting measures in Similipal area.

Opposition BJP and Congress circles ridiculed the effort of the BJD saying it was a gimmick as the ruling party had drawn flak for festivities and a cricket match in Mayurbhanj district instead of being concerned over the forest fire in the district.