New Delhi : Taking note of rising incidents of forest fire, the National Green Tribunal has directed the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to submit data related to such occurrences in the last five years and identification of hotspots.
A bench headed by justices S P Wangdi and K Ramakrishnan also ordered the Centre and state governments to file a report within 10 days listing the preventive steps taken by them.
"Considering the repeated incidents of forest fires, of which we take judicial notice of, and the increase in such incidents each year, there appears to be some laxity on the apart of the authorities to prevent such incidents. We are not aware as to whether the nodal agency as directed has been appointed by the
The tribunal directed that the report be filed within ten days by email.
"Considering the gravity of the situation, we direct the Inspector General of Forest (In charge, Forest Protection and Forest Fire) to be present before the Tribunal on the next date.
The applicant may furnish sets of paper to the Inspector General of Forest (In charge, Forest Protection and Forest Fire) along with a copy of this order and file an affidavit of service within a week," the tribunal said.
The NGT had last year directed that there must be a nodal officer at the central level to continuously monitor and coordinate with states and disposed the plea.
The tribunal had earlier rapped the Centre for remaining a "mute spectator" to the recurring forest fires in the hilly states, and directed the environment ministry to formulate a national policy.
The green panel had said that advanced planning and implementation of fire management and crisis management plan for forest fires could have prevented massive fires that engulfed the Himalayan states of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh in recent years.
The tribunal also held that in order to ensure effective participation of people living in villages close to forests, the labour for fire prevention and control should be sourced preferably from the same area and special incentive provided to such people.
The petitioner had claimed that large areas of forests, along with diverse biological species, have already become extinct as a consequence of these preventable forests.