Panaji: Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Tuesday evening chaired a meeting of the Disaster Management Authority (DMA) as multiple fires continued to rage inside the Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary, where Indian Navy helicopters were deployed to survey the affected areas.
The inferno inside the sanctuary in North Goa district started four days ago with Fire and Emergency Services and forest department personnel so far failing to control the blaze which continued to spread to more areas.
A senior official in the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) told reporters Sawant chaired the DMA meeting held at Mollem village under Sattari taluka of North Goa. He did not provide further details.
Forest Minister Vishwajit Rane, who was also present at the meeting, later tweeted that a deliberate attempt has been made to create forest fires and said he has directed officials of his department to control the situation.
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Meanwhile, Indian Navy helicopters were pressed into service on Tuesday to survey the fire- affected areas inside the sanctuary located on the Goa-Karnataka border.
In a series of tweets, Rane said “Further to the update on Forest Fire in Madei Wildlife Sanctaury and adjoining areas, today, on request of Forest Department, Navy deployed Helicopters for aerial survey to ascertain the status of forest fire.” The minister, who is the MLA from Valpoi in North Goa, said action will be taken under the Forest Protection Act against those responsible for the disaster.
“This is a deliberate attempt to create such forest fires, I have directed the PCCF (Principal Chief Conservator of Forest) to divert all the forest guards deployed in the respective areas to control the situation. Strict Action will be taken under the Forest Protection Act,” he tweeted.
In yet another tweet, Rane said the assessment of the extent of the fires is underway and his department is closely monitoring the situation.