Supreme Court to Hear Plea on Uttarakhand Forest Fires on May 8

The Supreme Court will hear a plea on forest fires in Uttarakhand, where over 910 incidents have occurred since November 2022, damaging forests in about 1145 hectares. The fires, mostly man-made, have affected 44% of forests in the Kumaon region. The court has posted the matter for hearing on May 8 and sought a status report from the Uttarakhand government. The petition highlights the ongoing issue of forest fires in the state, causing significant environmental damage.

PTI | New Delhi | Updated: 06-05-2024 17:06 IST | Created: 06-05-2024 17:06 IST
Supreme Court to Hear Plea on Uttarakhand Forest Fires on May 8
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The Supreme Court said on Monday it will hear on May 8 a plea on forest fires in Uttarakhand where 910 such incidents have occurred since November 1 last year damaging forests in about 1145 hectares.

The matter came up for hearing before a bench of Justices B R Gavai and Sandeep Mehta. An advocate, who has filed an application for impleadment in the matter, told the bench that almost 44 per cent of forests in Kumaon region of Uttarakhand was burning and the biggest shock was that 90 per cent of these fires were man-made.

''I am telling your lordships something which is shocking. It's all carbon flying all over the place. The biggest shock is 90 per cent of it is man-made,'' the lawyer said, adding, ''even today's report are absolutely sad… 44 per cent (forest) of Kumaon is burning''.

''You said 44 per cent under fire?'' the bench asked.

The lawyer replied in the affirmative and said the whole area is covered with pine trees.

The bench posted the matter for hearing on May 8.

The counsel appearing for Uttarakhand sought the court's permission to file a status report regarding the current position.

While hearing the petition in 2019, the apex court had observed that forest fires posed a serious problem in hill states, especially during summer, and the reason was the large presence of pine trees, which are highly flammable, in most areas. It was hearing a plea by advocate Rituparn Uniyal seeking urgent steps to protect forests, wildlife and birds from wildfires in Uttarakhand, saying these blazes have increased over the years and cause massive damage to the environment.

The petition has sought directions to the Centre, the Uttarakhand government and the principal chief conservator of forests in the state to make pre-fire arrangements and frame a policy to prevent forest fires.

''Forest fires in Uttarakhand have been a regular and historic feature. Every year, forest fires in Uttarakhand cause great loss to the forest ecosystem, diversity of flora and fauna and economic wealth. Forest fire is one of the major disasters in the forests of Uttarakhand,'' the plea said.

It said forest and wildlife were the most important natural resources and play a significant role in human life and environment.

''Forests are socially and environmentally interlinked with the people in the hilly areas, and play an important role in the economic welfare and development of the region,'' it said.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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