The Meghalaya Forest and Environment department is coming up with many interventions involving technologies to prevent forest fires in the state.
“We want to bring in a certain technology that would be able to at least detect such kinds of fires at the nascent stage,” Forest & Environment Minister James K Sangma told reporters on Monday.
According to him, intervention is needed where fire can be restricted to a certain space so that it can be doused as if the fire spread to the entire forest, it is impossible to put it out.
He said the department is also setting up many interventions with the help of technologies through separate funding be it from the 15th Finance Committee or from the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA).
Stating that forest fires are very dangerous for biodiversity, he said forest fires are not just about trees getting affected but very importantly the micro organisms, the insects, the shrubs that are there which plays a vital role in the ecosystem of any forests.
Urging the people to be more responsible, Sangma said, “Many forest fires actually start because of irresponsible behavior of people…they take a walk in the forest, light a biri or cigarette and casually throw it and once fire catches because the fact that the ground is so dry right now, it spreads very fast. Our manpower is very stretched thin in the forest department and to douse such kind of fire is of a huge challenge. So we have to appeal to the people to please be responsible as this is very irresponsible behavior on the part of certain individuals who very casually treat forests like that.”
Asked, the minister said community policing is a good idea but in terms of how practical it would be that is a question that remains because these forests are protected forests adding “we try to avoid as much as possible because any kind of encroachment or people moving through these forests is something rather harmful and detrimental.”
“But this is a responsibility of each and every citizen to make sure we spread awareness, we educate people about such kind of behavior to make sure people don’t act irresponsibly in this manner but to have community policing, well if it is voluntary and people come forward to do that then yes we will definitely explore such kind of things but it is easier said than done it is a challenging thing,” he stated.