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Similipal Fire Under Control

Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Wednesday reviewed the situation in the Simlipal Sanctuary fire in Mayurbhanj district at a high-level meeting.

In fact  the State Government has also rushed a high-level team to Similipal National Park to examine the forest fire situation and control the raging inferno.

The Chief Minister has instructed to be vigilant and take precautionary measures

The Chief Minister said that Simlipal is not only a treasure trove of Odisha or India but also an invaluable asset of the whole world.

“I urge the authorities to take immediate action to prevent such incidents.”

ACS Forests and Environment, Mona Sharma said the blaze in Simlipal was under control. No casualties were reported.

SOPs have been issued to control the fire and no major trees have been damaged, said Dr.Sharma.

PCCF Wildlife Sashi Paul is present at the scene and monitoring the situation.

The development came a day after Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar, expressed concern over the situation and ordered action to control the forest fire, which has been raging for a week and spreading to newer areas.

Forest and Environment Minister Bikram Kesari Arukha said the State Government has asked the principal chief conservator of forests, wildlife, to rush to Similipal.

“I have asked the PCCF, Wildlife to ascertain the cause of the fire, control the inferno and examine the situation. He will submit a report to the state government on Thursday,” the Minister said.

The fire has already spread to Betanoti, Rasgobindpur and Morada forest ranges of the national park, spread across 2,750 sq km, endangering wild animals including tigers, besides burning a large number of medicinal plants, herbs and big trees.

Over 1,000 people, including 250 forest guards and local volunteers, are engaged in the firefight. Forty vehicles including fire tenders and 240 blowers are being used in the operation, a senior official said.

Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Dharmendra Pradhan, had earlier tweeted: “Distressed to learn about the forest fire raging in Similipal Tiger Reserve from social media platform. Request the urgent attention of Shri @PrakashJavadekar and CM Shri@Naveen _Odisha on this alarming situation at one of the most important biosphere reserves of the country.”

Responding to his tweet, Mr.Javadekar posted: “I have ordered officers to take immediate action and report to me.”

Mayurbhanj Royal family scion Akshita M Bhanja Deo has also expressed concern over the situation.

Union Minister Pratap Chandra Sarangi tweeted: “Similipal is burning and it’s not a good sign for Asia. Mayurbhanj needs national and international’s media attention as its cause is genuine. Sad, not any leading national media is covering the story of Similipal since fire broke a week ago.”