by Web Desk | Published: 30-03-2021
After multiple fires were reported from the grasslands of the Aarey forest, environmental activists and locals submitted a letter to the state government and the BMC. Someone who had built unnecessarily ten years ago was asked to reopen a fire station in the forest. Environmentalists and locals say more than 40 fires have been reported from the grasslands since February.
Environmentalists also claimed that wildfires had intensified after the closure. Mumbai-based Environmental Protection Agency - Vanashakti has written to the state government asking it to start a local fire station soon within the forest area. Stalin Dayanand, director of forest energy, said there was previously a fire station inside the forest and the state government had asked for the fire station to close ten years ago. "The lack of a fire station nearby makes it very difficult for firefighters to reach the site, and the uneven terrain becomes an additional challenge," Stalin told the newspaper.
In the letter, Forest Force requested two small water tankers and extended hoses to spray water on the forest. Environmentalists have demanded that the Mumbai Fire Brigade lead the forest department and create streams within the forest to prevent future fires. Stalin claimed that the burning of the grasslands may have been an attempt by the invaders and the tribes to establish their own habitats.
After the state government announced that parts of the river would be marked as reserved forest, encroachers and tribals were burning grasslands to establish agricultural areas so they could claim alternative housing or compensation from the government,”Stalin said. Over the past one year, the encroachers have destroyed the grasslands and set up agricultural areas, and now that the government has declared that the area will be recognized as a reserved forest, they will be asked to provide housing and compensation, he said. Mumbai Fire Brigade officials did not want to comment on why a fire station was closed ten years ago, however, a new fire station can only be started if the municipal corporation goes ahead.
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