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

Missed call drive for VVPAT verification follows online plea to "pressure" poll panel

By Our Representative
Several political activists have begun a new campaign, asking concerned citizens to give a missed call on 9667655855 to “support the demand that 2019 Loksabha elections must be declared only after verification of 50% electronic voting machines (EVMs) with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) receipts.” The effort, supported by civil society networks across India, is meant to "further pressure" India's election machinery to ensure that the poll outcome becomes more transparent.

Now, top Gujarat "litterateur" close to Modi says: Godse was patriot, so was Gandhi

By Rajiv Shah
A little over a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticized BJP candidate from Bhopal Pragya Thakur for calling Nathuram Godse a patriot saying he would never forgive her for the remark, a top Sangh Parivar ideologue, known to close to Modi in Gujarat, has supported her, saying her statement should be seen “within a context.” Thakur won from Bhopal by more than 3.5 lakh votes defeating her nearest rival, veteran Congressman and ex-Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh.

Opposition refuses to legally challenge EVMs amidst plans of "back to ballot" protest

Counterview Desk
Even as opposition to the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) allegedly to rig polls is growing, a group of prominent citizens who have come together to form the EVM Virodhi Rashtriya Jan Andolan has controversially called for a national protest against EVMs on May 30, demanding future elections should be held only on ballot paper.

When a Pak scribe said Modi has 'proved' Jinnah’s two nation theory right...

By Zafar Agha*
It was around nine in the morning on May 24, 2019, a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi stormed the Lok Sabha with 300-plus MPs. It was a call from a journalist friend, Muzamal Suhrawardy, from Lahore, Pakistan. I ignored the call. We liberals had a depressing day the previous evening as the opposition to Modi and BJP collapsed. The results belied reports from the ground and even assessments made by colleagues.

It's now official: Akshay Kumar has not been conferred honorary Canadian citizenship

By Our Representative
It is now official. Super-star Akshay Kumar has not been conferred any honorary citizenship by Canadian authorities, as claimed by him ahead of the 2019 elections. In reply to a query by Roshan Shah, who is a Canadian citizen living in Waterloo, Ontario, and belongs to Ahmedabad, the country’s authorities dealing with issues related with immigration, refugees and citizenship in Canada have said that only six persons have so far been granted honorary citizenship.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad "declared support" to two-nation theory in 1937, followed by Jinnah three years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

If EC's credibility is under question, shouldn't one "assume" EVMs might be tampered?

Counterview Desk
Gauhar Raza, scientist, documentary film maker and poet; senior human rights activist Shabnam Hashmi of the Act Now for Harmony and Democracy (ANHAD); military veteran Major Priyadarshi Chowdhury (retd); and Sucheta De and Sandeep Saurav of the All India Students' Association (AISA), have asked “individuals, organisations and people's movements” to send their endorsement to an appeal they have prepared on Electronic Voting Machine (EVM).

Govt of India overestimated GDP by 2.5%, must restore reputational damage: Ex-CEA

By Rajiv Shah
Top economist Arvind Subramanian has said that changes brought about by the Government of India in data sources and methodology for estimating the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) since 2011-12 “has led to a significant overestimation of growth”. While official estimates place annual average GDP growth between 2011-12 and 2016-17 at about 7 percent, the actual growth may have been 4½ percent, ranging from 3 ½ to 5 ½ percent during the period, he adds.

Common thread of Modi, political Hinduism, nationalism? 'Contest' of ideas isn't over

By Salman Khurshid*
Losing the 2019 election and that too in a somewhat extreme manner has confronted us with unexpected challenges: Our leadership has naturally taken it very hard and to heart but with suggested options that we cannot imagine or contemplate. Hopefully the emotions will settle soon and give us the direction to pick up the pieces and march again.

Will minorities in India be 2nd class citizens? Wake up call: Be a 'communicating' Church

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
India today is at a defining moment of her history. There is so much that has taken place in the past five years (and particularly in the last ten days)- that several citizens of the country are genuinely concerned about the future of the country! Will democracy survive? Will key elements of the Constitution be changed?