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Forest fires burn Dzükou

DZÜKOU ALFAME: (L) Fire already engulfing tracts of virgin forest at the western region & (R) smoke billows as fires advance towards the southern region of Dzükou valley. (NP)
Correspondent KOHIMA/DIMAPUR, JAN 8 (NPN):
Published on 9 Jan. 2010 12:33 AM IST
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Nagaland’s famed Dzükou valley lying on the western region of Khonoma which is also the home of the famed Blythe’s Tragopan is under imminent threat by raging forest fires that started since January 4 and advancing rapidly towards the southern areas of Dzükou valley. The state government is grappling with the Herculean task of bringing the raging fires under control but with very little options as the entire area cannot be reached by road. Large tracts of the western Dzükou have been blackened and now the fires are on the fringes of engulfing the rich virgin forests lying towards the southern region of Dzükou valley. On Friday, a team comprising of government officials and mediapersons went on an aerial reconnaissance of western Dzükou valley, where fire has been raging since January 4. The scenic beauty of western Dzükou valley has already been razed. Officials fear that the raging fires would soon spread to southern valley within the next 24 hours if the situation is not brought immediately under control. In a bid to prevent the spread of the rampaging fires, officials said approximately 500 volunteers from Western Angami and Southern Angami areas along with home guards and forest department personnel were engaged in controlling the fires. It may be recalled that, in the year 2006, a devastating fire destroyed many part of this region. According to officials, the estimates of the colossal damage would be known only after experts make a proper assessment. The reconnoitering team which flew in a Pawan Hans helicopter took off from Kohima at 9 a.m. Friday and included state commissioner & secretary forest and special secretary to CM Abeio Kire, chief conservator of forest Panger Jamir, Kohima ADC Zeneituo Yano, SDPO, DFO, Bureau Chief of Nagaland Post and a Correspondent of the Eastern Mirror. In another report the Khonoma Youth Organisation (KYO),has said that no less than ten square kilometers of the area has been destroyed by fire. “KYO has been continuously taking all possible measures to contain the fire but so far the efforts have proved inadequate even till today, the fifth day of the fire,” organisation’s president Megovisa Sophi said in a communiqué. Around 300 volunteers have been deployed to contain the fire from spreading to the neighbouring areas, Trapogan Sanctuary and pine forest, it stated. The fire, according to KYO, was even more difficult to contain as the area was dominantly covered with Jüpfü(a bamboo species) and rate ferns and flowers. Meanwhile, expressing gratitude to forest department, district administration and the Assam Rifles for assisting, the KYO expressed hope that they would extend support till the situation was brought under control. Also, thanking various NGOs and sympathizers for their support, the Khonoma youths assured to tackle the inferno with whatever resources available. CCSZ apologizes With the ongoing fire in western Dzükou which was earlier set off by some youth from the Catholic Church Sechü (Zubza), the Church today tendered its unconditional apology to Jotsoma village and Southern Angami Public Organization and its concerned villages, in case if the raging fire spread to their land. The CCSZ president and advisor Catholic union Sechü Zubza Avilie Zhünyü and Khunyü Rina, in a release, also offered its apology with “remorse and regret” for what it termed as “unfortunate incident” which had caused great sorrow and inconveniences to everyone concern. “Truly ashamed of the wrongdoing of our children we do feel guilty, and full of remorse hereby as all the people, villages and everyone concern to forgive us and our youth”, it said .

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