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Saturday, April 3, 2010

Forest-fires in Jharkhand

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Many forests in Jharkhand state of India were reported to be on fire for about a week. High temperature and speedy wind during summers in dry areas favour this disaster which not only destroys forests but kills many of our wild animals too.
On 28th of March the local print media reported that many forests in the state were on fire including forests in the areas of Daltonganj, Latehar, Simdega, Giridih, Kodarma, and Hazaribagh.These are the areas where forest property worth crores of rupees including wild animals have already been burnt.

Shrinking forests of Jharkhand have already no place of wild animals to live in. Forest fires are extreme events against their survival. People living in forest villages are reportedly running away, leaving their belongings. Had they not been living in forest villages displacing wild animals and clearing vast tracts of forests, they would not have been in a condition to face the current difficulties of this temporary migration. The Department of Forests claims to spend crores of rupees on fire prevention every year. It is reported that the department has put a deaf ear towards the accident, though it is not believable. It is commented that the reports of forest fires this season have once again proved that no step for the creation of fire-lines and for making arrangements for fire prevention has been taken up so far by the department concerned.

Probabilities of forest fires always exist during summers( of course because rains may not allow burning of trees and winter may not attract people towards forests and may not allow ignition due to high moisture and absence of dry leaves on the forest floor). It is reported that forest department spends lots of money in the name of creating fire-lines every year. Let the forest department itself confirm the report whether it is correct. Fire lines are meant for checking the spread of fire. Besides this, training for control and prevention of fire is given to villagers. Crores of rupees are reportedly spent every year on this work. The expense may or may not be correct but two things that   really interest us are – fire line, and training of control and prevention of fire, that too to villagers. Through media reports many people came to know about these two. Thus the educational target of media has been met.

Fire- line probably does not mean – the line of fire. It may be the line which can not be crossed by fire. Guess about such a line. Second is the training for control and prevention of forest fire. “Live inside a forest, cut as many trees as you can, sell fire wood and timber but be trained in the heroic acts of fire- fighting, though previous acts are equally heroic but can be performed without any training. …”

If people of a country remain really serious for protection of their resources, no force can be powerful enough to act against their will. Hence, forest fires on large scale point towards the carelessness of the local people and casual approach towards protection of forests and wildlife. Blaming governments and its departments for each and every thing is the fashion and style of democracy. This may not lead us to anywhere. 

Key Words: Forest -fires, fire-lines, department of forests, local people, disaster, wildlife, democracy, carelessness.

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