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Uttarakhand Forest Fires: SC Slams State Govt’s Lax Approach, Flags Vacant Posts In Forest Dept

Uttarakhand Forest Fires: SC Slams State Govt’s Lax Approach, Flags Vacant Posts In Forest Dept

The Supreme Court on Wednesday slammed the Uttarakhand government over its lackadaisical approach in controlling forest fires. The top court also pulled up the state government for the piling vacancies in its forest department and said the issue needs to be addressed.

A bench headed by Justice B R Gavai and comprising Justices SVN Bhatti and Sandeep Mehta directed the Chief Secretary of Uttarakhand to be personally present before it on May 17.

The apex court observed that despite multiple action plans, no steps are taken for their implementation on ground.

In the last hearing, the Supreme Court while hearing petitions on Uttarakhand forest fires observed that cloud seeding or depending on rain god is not the answer to the issue of forest fires and the state has to take preventive measures. The court said that the government must do something effective to tackle fires. This observation from the top court came even as the Uttarakhand government apprised the court about steps taken to control the raging forest fires and said that 0.1 per cent of the wildlife cover in the state was on fire.

The state told the court that from November 2023, there have been 398 forest fires in the state and all of those were man-made.

The Deputy Advocate General Jatinder Kumar Sethi appearing for Uttarakhand state further informed the court that 350 criminal cases have been lodged in connection with forest fires and 62 people have been named in those.

Placing an interim status report in the court, the state Sethi said 0.1 per cent of the wildlife cover in the hill state was on fire. The lawyer also placed an interim status report before the bench.

In the earlier hearing, Senior Advocate Rajiv Dutta told the court that the situation is more serious than how the state government was describing it.

On May 6, a bench headed by Justice BR Gavai agreed to urgently hear the plea concerning the forest fires in Uttarakhand after the Senior Advocate Rajiv Dutta informed the court that the situation was “shocking” in the state as “there is carbon flying all over the place.”

The court was told that the Uttarakhand government actually filed a report in the National Green Tribunal (NGT) which claimed that the number of incidents of forest fires were going down.

Reportedly, there have been over 900 incidents of such fires in the past six months, damaging at least 1100 hectares of forest land in Uttarakhand.

The petitioner told the court that pleas seeking directions to the Uttarakhand government on controlling forest fires have been pending in the Supreme Court for years. In January 2021, the top court had agreed to examine the petitions.

One of these petitioners, Rituparn Uniyal, has prayed for the entire wildlife in the region to be declared a living entity.

Doonited Affiliated: Syndicate News Hunt

This report has been published as part of an auto-generated syndicated wire feed. Except for the headline, the content has not been modified or edited by Doonited

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