Skip to main content

1,600 hectares Uttarakhand forests on fire, timber mafia behind "national emergency", alleges Facebook post

By Our Representative
A Facebook post has created flutter. Poster by Ela Smetacek, who “lives in Delhi", the post talks of a national emergency having overtaken the forests in Uttarakhand. These forests,it says, “Have been burning for over a week now, with no media coverage whatsoever.”
Soon after the post, there has been media effort to find out what exactly has happened, with CNNnews18 tweeting, “Fire engulfs 1,600 hectares of forests in Uttarakhand, threatens 1,500 villages in Kumaon and Garwhal region”.
A whopping 11,000 people shared Ela Smetacek's post in just one day. The post contains explicit photographs of the fire by Anup Sah.
The post saus, “The fires are engulfing thousands of hectares of forest, destroying wild life and killing trees in hundreds of thousands, the toll is estimated to be in tens of crores and higher.”
“We want the media to bring this terrible illicit project that has, according to locals, been carefully orchestrated by timber and land mafia”,  it says.
Smatacek says, “Villagers are paid to set fire to forests and once it goes out the unburned parts are strangely reset till it is all burnt. We caught three young minors setting fires to a birding area in Sattal, and we asked them why. They said their father had told them to set fire to the forest.”
“We put out the fire with water from the lake, and the next day it was again set ablaze”, she further said, quoting Rahul Sharma, a bird expert, adding, Today we saw the dead trees are being marked and cut for sale."
Pointing out these are “just some of the eyewitness accounts of this horrific project”, the post says, adding, The trees that die in the fire and as a result of the fires are cut for timber and sold for hundreds of crores and this ghastly project it clearly a mega windfall for the timber dealers and mafia.”
“Forest panchayats are often in league with these dealers and fires are often lit, every summer. But this year, the entire Uttarakhand is ablaze”, the post alleges, adding, “The hills are the only natural oxygen lung for cities like the Delhi National Capital Region (NCR), and their destruction will dry up the rivers and have an terrible effect on the fate of India.”
Pointing that “when trees die, ground water evaporates”, the post says, “A barren, burnt land is what is left of many mountains where last week, there stood a beautiful forest. News from Nainital, Bhimtal, Sattal, Almora coming in, eye witnesses sending pictures to us and all of them are saying the same thing! The fires aren't being contained!”
Insisting that “local residents” are “concerned about this situation”, the post insists that the authorities should work to “stop the fires, immediately deploy army to fight the fires and contain them from spreading”, there should be a “a fast court” to “arrest all people engaged in setting fires.”
Seeking a “ban burning of private land adjoining forests”, the post says, efforts should be made to stop “the selling of any forest timber, by forest department and local van panchayats” and “set up wild life rehabilitation teams to address the injured wildlife.”

Comments

TRENDING

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

RSS supremo Deoras 'supported' Emergency, but Indira, Sanjay Gandhi 'didn't respond'

By Shamsul Islam*
National Emergency was imposed on the country by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on June 25-26, 1975, and it lasted for 19 months. This period is considered as ''dark times' for Indian democratic polity. Indira Gandhi claimed that due to Jaiprakash Narayan's call to the armed forces to disobey the 'illegal' orders of Congress rulers had created a situation of anarchy and there was danger to the existence of Indian Republic so there was no alternative but to impose Emergency under article 352 of the Constitution.

Letter to friends, mentors: Coming together of class, communal, corona viruses 'scary'

By Prof (Dr) Mansee Bal Bhargava*
COVID greetings from Ahmedabad to dear mentors and friends from around the world…
I hope you are keeping well and taking care of yourself besides caring for the people around you. I’m writing to learn how is the science and the society coping with the prevention and cure of the pandemic. I’m also writing to share the state of the corona virus that is further complicated with the long-standing class and communal viruses.

Hurried nod to Western Ghat projects: 16 lakh Goans' water security 'jeopardised'

Counterview Desk
Taking strong exception to "virtual clearances" to eco-sensitive projects in the Western Ghats, the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) in a statement has said urged for a review of the four-lane highway, 400 KV transmission line and double tracking of the railway line through the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park in Goa.

Disturbing signal? Reliance 'shifting focus' away from Indian petrochemical sector

By NS Venkataraman*
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), a large Indian company, has expanded and grown in a spectacular manner during the last few decades, like of which no industrial group in India has performed before. RIL is now involved in multi various activities relating to petroleum refineries, petrochemicals, oil and gas exploration, coal bed methane, life sciences, retail business, communication network, (Jio platform) media/entertainment etc.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

By Our Representative
Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book, "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Oxfam on WB project: ICT 'ineffective', privatised learning to worsen gender divide

By Rajiv Shah 
A top multinational NGO, with presence in several developed and developing countries, has taken strong exception to the World Bank part-funding Strengthening Teaching-Learning and Results for States (STARS) project in six Indian states – Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Odisha – for its emphasis on information and communication technology (ICT)-enabled approaches for teacher development, student assessment and digital platform for early childhood education.

Cruel legacy of Green Revolution? Covid-19 underscores 'risky, fragile' food system

By Moin Qazi*  The Covid-19 crisis has highlighted the risks of an unhealthy diet and the extreme fragility of food systems. The economic reconstruction that will follow the pandemic is the perfect opportunity to provide better nutrition and health to all. The pandemic should spur us to redefine how we feed ourselves, and agricultural research can play a vital role in making our food systems more sustainable and resilient.

Case for nationalising India's healthcare system amidst 'strong' private control

Counterview Desk
A draft discussion note, prepared by Dr Maya Valecha, a Gujarat-based gynecologist and activist, sent to the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) as also a large number of activists, academics and professionals as an email alert, is all set to create a flutter among policy experts for its strong insistence on nationalizing India’s healthcare system.