‘All-out efforts being made to prevent forest fires’

Seasonal activity: An Adivasi engaged in drying Tendu (beedi) leaves at Yellandu in Bhadradri Kothagudem district.

Seasonal activity: An Adivasi engaged in drying Tendu (beedi) leaves at Yellandu in Bhadradri Kothagudem district.   | Photo Credit: G_N_RAO

Bhadradri district officials recorded 1,618 incidents of fire during 2004-2017

With the first round of tendu (beedi) leaf e-tendering process all set to get underway, the Forest Department has intensified efforts to prevent forest fires during the ensuing tendu shrubs pruning season.

In all 39 beedi leaf units have been notified for sale in six forest divisions of the district. A target of 47,800 standard bags has been stipulated for the tendu leaf collection season - 2018, sources in the Forest Department said.

Tendu leaf collection is an alternative source of livelihood for thousands of Adivasis and other members of the forest dwelling communities in the predominantly tribal populated district during the peak summer season.

The destructive practice of burning forests, often resorted to by errant contractors during the pruning season in a bid to get a fresh flush of tendu leaves, has been identified as the major causative factor for the recurring forest blazes in the district, sources added.

A total of 287 forest compartments spanning over 1.63 lakh hectares have been identified as fire-prone areas in the district based on a comprehensive analysis of satellite data generated from 2004 to 2017. These compartments have recorded more than three fire instances in the past 14 years, sources said.

The study conducted by the Forest Department has found that 1,618 incidents of forest fire occurred during the period (2004-2017).

This has prompted the Forest authorities to lay special focus on educating the stakeholders about the devastating ecological consequences of forest fires and enforcing the legal provisions to protect forests.

“Persistent efforts are being made to educate the beedi leaf contractors, khalladars, shepherds the local youth and other forest dwellers about the fire prevention and control measures,” says the District Forest Officer Sivala Rambabu. Those who set fire to forests in a bid to obtain better tendu crop would be booked under the relevant sections of the TS Forest Act, 1967, he said.

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Printable version | Jun 6, 2020 1:19:54 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/all-out-efforts-being-made-to-prevent-forest-fires/article22819499.ece

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