Massive campaign to be launched to check forest fire: Nadda

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Shimla, Mar 28 (UNI) An aggressive publicity campaign will be launched from divisional to conservator level with active involvement of district administration to effectively tackle incidents of forest fires across Himachal Pradesh, said state Forest Minister J P Nadda.

Addressing a high-level meeting of Forest Officers for controlling forest fires here last evening, he said it was mandatory for all forest officials, including DFOs, ACFs down to range officers, to attend Gram Sabha meetings in their respective jurisdiction and enlighten the masses about the steps being taken by the government to control forest infernos during fire seasons usually from April 1 to June 30, and in the months of September and October every year.

Mr Nadda said publicity material prepared for the purpose including pamphlets, hand bills and posters would be distributed to the local people to create awareness among them about handy methods of containing fire incidents in their respective area.

April 6 had been fixed for General House of Gram Sabhas in the state and all concerned forest officials had been directed to attend these Gram Sabhas invariably, he said.

Mr Nadda further informed that sufficient forest workers would be deployed at each Divisional Headquarter and these rapid response teams consisting of five to 10 members each would work on shift basis round the clock to swing in action in case of emergencies.

He assured the forest officers that adequate budget allocation would be made to hire vehicles to facilitate mobility of these fire-fighting teams under supervision of concerned forest officers.

The Forest Minister also directed the forest authorities that intermittent meetings would be held with Deputy Commissioners and Superintendents of Police of the concerned districts to devise and work out strategies at grass root level.

Regular meetings of Joint Forest Management Committees would also be held at regular intervals and it would be ensured that local people are actively involved in the protection of forest wealth, he added.

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