By Our Staff Reporter
Dehradun, 16 Jun: Forest Minister Subodh Uniyal today claimed that the incidents of forest fire in the state depended largely on weather changes and lack of rains. He was responding to a starred question by Pritam Singh. Singh had asked whether it was true the incidents of fires in the state forests were on the rise in recent years. In response to a supplementary question, he said there were several stages of dealing with fires in the forests. During the pre-fire season, which is between 15 December and 14 February, some preventive measures are taken which include preparation of plans for management of fires at the state and the district levels, mapping of the areas and preparing the plans after identifying and categorising various areas or regions into highly sensitive, sensitive and non-sensitive areas. Other preventive measures include clearance of fire lines, creating new fire lines around the tree plantations, setting up control rooms and crew stations at various levels, inspection of firefighting equipment and repairs thereof and repairs of wireless communication sets. During the period of fire season which lasts from 15 February to 15 June, control measures are taken such as posting of staff and volunteers from Van Panchayats at the crew stations, getting the rapid response teams ready, getting feedback in respect of fires, if any, using various means including satellite pictures and local feedback from the villagers, etc., using the services of SDRF, NDRF, Air Force apart from the forest staff. After the fire season, measures are taken such as survey, rejuvenation and replantation of areas damaged or affected as a result of forest fires, soil conservation steps, restoration work and honouring locals for their contribution towards firefighting.
In response to a starred question by Anupama Rawat, Forest Minister Subodh Uniyal informed the House that 202.88 hectares of cropped area was damaged due to wild animals such as wild boars, etc., during the year 2021-22 as against 306 hectares in 2019-20 and 435 hectares in 2020-21. He added that, against the crop loss, farmers were compensated by the government. In 2021-22, the farmers were given an amount of Rs 40 crores, in 2020-21, they were paid Rs 72.51 crores and, in 2109-20, they were paid Rs 83.93 crores as compensation. In response to another question, Uniyal said that the Van Gujjars in district Haridwar have been rehabilitated but they had not been given ownership rights for the land allotted to them for rehabilitation.
Health Minister Dhan Singh Rawat denied that there is any shortage of rabies vaccines in the state. He was responding to a starred question by Virendra Kumar. In response to a question by Pritam Singh, Dhan Singh Rawat informed the House that there are four medical colleges established by the government so far in the state and 3 medical colleges in the private sector. In addition, there is the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) set up by Government of India. The four medical colleges set up by the government are in Srinagar, Dehradun, Haldwani and Almora. In the private sector, Swami Ram Medical College & University in Jolly Grant, Dehradun, Shri Guru Ram Rai Institute of Medical Sciences in Dehradun and Gautam Buddha Medical College in Dehradun are in operation.