However, the Forest department is taking remedial steps, says
P. N. Padhi, the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF) of Odisha while
mentioning that, ‘water scarcity is there, it’s a fact. Wildlife sometimes are
also facing water stress. In that situation, we have put emphasis on creation of
water bodies. Last year we have already created 800 numbers of water bodies and
this year we have the programme to create around 1000 water bodies’.
The cases of fire in the forests have also increased this
year. Because of dry spell that continued for a longer period this year, the
cases of forest fire have gone up to more than 2700 this year against about 700
last year, confirms the PCCF. This has not only increased temperature in the
forests but put the whole green belt at a further risk.
Looking at the increasing cases of fire in the forests, the
Forest department is trying to control it by involving the communities living in
the forest villages and by taking other measures that would at least stop fire
from spreading. ‘To control the fire, department has facilitated involvement of
village communities and Van Suraksha samitis (VSS), involvement of fire fighting
squads and arranging their mobility, construction of watchtowers. We have also
developed a system of constructing fire lines. Every division is constructing
around 100-500 KM of fire line depending upon the fire incidents and magnitude
of the division’, says Padhi who believes that such fire line, which is a 10-20
meter wide cleaned strip running in the forests, will stop fire from spreading
in the forest.
Whatever steps are planned so far must be taken immediately because the
situation of forests this year has already gone critical even in the beginning
of summer. The situation in the forests would go further critical if the cases
of fire continue in the forests throughout the summer season this year.