Aarey fire: Residents blame anti-social elements who enter forest illegally
SGNP officials told mid-day that their team including fire-watchers, reached the spot to prevent it from spreading further
A massive fire which was allegedly set off by miscreants, gutted a huge portion of forest in the periphery of Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) near Santosh Nagar in Goregaon East, on Monday evening. It was doused by 10.15 pm.
Local residents on the periphery of the park saw huge flames on a hillock, following which they immediately informed the Fire Brigade. SGNP officials told mid-day that their team including fire-watchers, reached the spot to prevent it from spreading further.
'Miscreants are to blame'
Rajendra Rawat, a resident of Aarey Milk Colony at Goregaon East, said, "Anti-social elements who enter the forest illegally are responsible for these fires which pose a grave threat to wild creatures like snakes, deer, leopards etc." It is said that the exact location of the fire was on the hillock behind Nagri Nivara Parishad (NNP) colony. Pawan Sharma from the NGO RAWW said, "I appeal to citizens to report such instances to the Forest Department on the 1926 toll-free helpline so responding teams can act faster. "
'Fire is on private land'
A senior Forest Department official said, "The fire started among the dry shrubs on land owned by a private developer. It did not start in our jurisdiction, but as our park is just few metres away, it could spread further and so our teams are present on the spot to douse it." Local MLA Sunil Prabhu said, "The fire was on private land. Locals allege it was deliberately set off. I demand an inquiry into this and strong action against the guilty.
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