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U'khand: 10 forest dept personnel suspended for negligence in preventing wildfires

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NewsDrum Desk
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Dehradun, May 8 (PTI) Ten forest department personnel found negligent in preventing wildfires were suspended on Wednesday, the Uttarakhand government said, as forest fires raged across the state.

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The government said that the action was taken on the instructions of Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami.

In a daily bulletin, the forest department said 40 forest fire incidents were reported in the state on Wednesday in which 69.73 hectares of forest cover was destroyed.

The chief minister reviewed the wildfire situation in the state on his return from campaigning and asked officials to expedite firefighting operations through greater community participation at the local level.

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Strict action must be taken against people contributing to the wildfires, he said.

Dhami visited the forests of Rudraprayag and participated in sweeping aside pine needles accumulated in the forests.

"Dry leaves of Pirul (pine needles) are the biggest cause of forest fire. I request people of the state to try to run this campaign on a large scale in collaboration with Yuvak Mangal Dal, Mahila Mangal Dal and self-help groups to save the forests around them," he said in a post on Facebook.

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"To prevent forest fire, the government is also working on 'Pirul Laao-Paise Pao' mission. Under this mission, Pirul will be purchased at the rate of Rs 50/kg at the Pirul Collection Center with the aim of reducing forest fires. This mission will be operated by the Pollution Control Board, for this a separate corpus fund of Rs 50 crore will be kept," Dhami said.

He also offered to participate in the process of building fire lines to prevent forest fires and create public awareness.

Public representatives should also be involved in the process, the chief minister said.

IAF helicopters continue to assist in the firefighting operations in the state, Additional Chief Conservator of Forest Nishant Verma said. Between May 6 and 8, an MI 17 helicopter conducted 23 sorties in the Garhwal forest division to pour 44,600 litres of water over the burning forests, he added. PTI ALM IJT IJT

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