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Dry season causes rampant forest fires
Correspondent KOHIMA, APR 13 (NPN)
Published on 14 Apr. 2010 12:42 AM IST
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With the prevailing dry and arid season coupled with heavy wind, the state has been witnessing increasing incidences of forest fire throughout the state this year despite the state government standing order banning setting fire to the forests.
In and around the state capital, the state witnessed several major forest fire including both the scenic Western Dzükou valley and also Japfü range where a vast track of the virgin and pristine forest with rich flora and fauna were consummated in the inferno. According to the record of the state Fire service, it has attended to the call of duty to douse forest fire in and around Kohima twice in the month of February and 28 times in March while the trend was increasing in the month of April.
Commissioner and secretary, forest and environment, L. Kire admitted that there was rampant forest fire and the department was left helpless. He, however, pointed out that since the district administration had standing order banning forest fire with punitive measure against the defaulting village in the form of fine deduction from the Village Development fund, the administration should implement so as to create awareness among the people of the state.
On the other hand, additional chief secretary and commissioner Nagaland, Banuo Z Jamir who administers the district administration admitted she was not aware of any DC taking action and implementing the standing order. She agreed that there could be some case of accidental fire which has to be verified and at the same time stressed on questioning the community or village under which the fire started.
Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner, Kohima Bei-u Angami said that he had directed all the outpost administrative officers to take actions in their respective jurisdiction of forest fire incidences as per the government standing order. As per the government standing order, the village under whose jurisdiction such forest fire started should identify the culprit responsible for starting the fire and be punished. If the village authority failed to do so, Rs.50, 000/- would be deducted from the VDB fund of the village concerned.
Some villages were taking actions on their own such as Phesama village which had identified a culprit for setting forest fire and punished him including putting him in lock-up. However, in cases where the villagers failed to initiate action, the outposts officers were in the process of compilations, he added.

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