Bhubaneswar: The rising cases of forest fires across the state have created a stir in the Odisha Assembly too. Congress MLA Suresh Routray and BJP’s Kusum Tete raised the issue during Question Hour, seeking a reply from the government.
Stating that the forests have been burning for the last 15 days in the state, Routray sought a reply from the concerned minister about the steps taken by the government to prevent forest fires.
In response, Minister Forest, Environment and Climate Change Pradip Kumar Amat said, “The data received from the satellite is not only about forest fires. In many cases, farmers are setting fire to paddy fields after harvesting to clear the lands.”
“Farmers are setting fire to the residue left after harvesting. That’s why there is more fire in satellite imagery. As much as 98 per cent of the area where the fire has been reported is being examined,” he said.
The Minister further said that cooperation from Women Self-Help Groups and Vana Surakhya Samitis is being sought to address forest fires. Besides, the fire is being doused with the use of modern technology.
Yesterday, a meeting in this regard was held under the chairmanship of the Chief Secretary. Strict action is being taken against those who are setting fires inside the forest. Those who are found roaming suspiciously in the forest are being monitored, he added.
In response to another question raised by MLA Suresh Routray on the issue of water scarcity during the summer season, minister Amat said, “The Chief Executive Officer of RWSS has been instructed to spend an additional Rs. 50,000 to deal with the water scarcity issue.”
Besides, arrangements are being made for water supply in inaccessible areas with the help of tankers, the minister further added.
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