The National Green Tribunal on Tuesday issued showcause notices to the governments of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, seeking details of plans to deal with the severe forest fires raging in the states. The tribunal asked the Ministry of Environment and Forests what measures were taken to control the flames. It also questioned the ministry about preventive measures implemented. “We want to know the cause of the fire,” it said. The next hearing on the matter is scheduled for May 10.
The blaze in Uttarakhand has destroyed more than 3,000 hectares of jungles and killed eight people. The National Disaster Response Force was sent to the state to help douse the fires, which have been raging for several weeks now. A bench of the green court headed by chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said it was shocked that the fires were being taken “so casually”, PTI reported.
Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar told the Rajya Sabha on Monday that more than 20,000 forest fires broke out across the country in the first four months of the year, as opposed to 16,000 fires in the whole of 2015, News18 reported.