What have you done regarding forest fires, NGT to MoEF

New Delhi: Voicing concern over the forest fires raging in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) yesterday said it was shocked that everyone was taking the issue ‘so casually’ and issued show cause notices to both the states.

A local tries to douse a forest fire on the outskirts of Shimla. Pic/PTI
A local tries to douse a forest fire on the outskirts of Shimla. Pic/PTI

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar asked the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) as to what they have done in the matter to control the situation.

“What have you (MoEF) done regarding the fire? It shocks us. Everybody is taking it so casually,” the bench said.

Responding to the query, counsel representing the MoEF said that entire team of officials concerned was working on the issue and choppers of Indian Air Force (IAF) have also been deployed in the ongoing firefighting operations.

To this, the bench asked Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh state governments, “What is your preparedness to prevent such incidents?”

The bench, however, asked the advocates for these states to take instructions on this issue.

“Issue notices to the states of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh to show cause about the forest fires that have occurred in both the states,” the bench said, adding that the secretaries concerned would file their affidavits in this regard on the next date of hearing on May 10.

“We want to know the cause of fire,” the bench said.

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