Uttarakhand fires to be doused in two days: Javadekar

New Delhi, May 2 (IANS) Forest Minister Prakash Javadekar on Monday said it would take two days to completely douse the massive forest fires in Uttarakhand.

“The forest fire in Uttarakhand will be completely doused in two days,” Javadekar tweeted.

Prakash Javadekar

The minister of state (Independent Charge) for environment, forests and climate change earlier said here that the government would investigate how and why the massive fire erupted and spread over such a wide area.

He also spoke of speculations that the timber mafia could be behind the blaze. “But our first priority is to douse the fire and give relief to people,” he said earlier.

The central government on Sunday sent a four-member expert team to Uttarakhand to look into the forest fires in the state and submit its report to the union home ministry within a week after taking stock of the situation.

The union home ministry also stated that about 6,000 people from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), state police, forest staff and volunteers were deployed.

“Three Air Force helicopters including an Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) and two MI-17 helicopters with Bambi bucket have also been deployed to assist the local administration,” a ministry statement said.

The fire started some 88 days ago and has so far destroyed nearly 3,000 acres of forest cover. The Prime Minister’s Office has earmarked Rs.5 crore for the fire-fighting operation.

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