As forest fires continue to rage across Uttarakhand, Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Saugata Roy on Monday gave an adjournment notice in the Lok Sabha demanding a discussion on the current situation in the hill state.
It is reported that over 2000 hectares of land have been affected by the forest fire, even as the NDRF has deployed over 130 personnel to tackle the massive blaze.
Three Mi-17 helicopters of the Indian Air Force (IAF) on Sunday dumped loads of water on the blaze in Nainital and Pauri districts.
At least seven people have died and 15 others injured in the fires so far. About 2,269 hectares of forested land have been destroyed with Pauri, Nainital, Rudraprayag, Tehri and Almora districts bearing most of the brunt.
The authorities claimed the situation was gradually getting better, and the latest satellite imagery of forest fires shows the blaze has been extinguished in over 75 percent of the affected area in the hill state.
Minister of State for Environment, Forests and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar yesterday said that the Centre was taking the matter “very seriously” and “have deployed 6,000 people”, including from the NDRF, for firefighting “with a grant of Rs 5 crore to the state” for more manpower.
“Testing of pre-fire alert systems has also been started ,” he added.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has also offered all assistance to the hill state.
He reviewed the situation on Sunday and held discussions with the Chief Secretary and other officials of the Uttarakhand government. He also discussed the crisis during a telephonic conversation with Uttarakhand Governor K.K. Paul.
The BJP-led NDA government has, however, come under criticism from the opposition over the crisis.
The Congress party has not only blamed the Centre for fuelling a political crisis in a ‘peaceful’ state but also said it has miserably failed to tackle a major environmental tragedy.