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

Hindus to be 'sent' to Kashmir? Despite Israeli settlements, peace eludes the region

By Anand K Sahay*
Curfew, news and communications blackout, transportation shut-down... News reports from Kashmir are worrying. So are the views relayed through the media, especially television. Old-fashioned repression seems to be consorting comfortably with expressions of concern “for our Kashmiri brethren”. We are looking at Orwell’s 1984 in the making.

Impact of state repression? Kashmir's 65% people prefer independence: Cambridge study

By Rajiv Shah 
Even as the Government of India’s controversial move to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) into two union territories is not only refusing to down die but has acquired international dimensions, a recent study, published by the Cambridge University Press, has claimed “pro-independence attitudes” among that 65% of Kashmiris, warning, this sentiment worsens when the state machinery resorts “repressive violence”.

Congress' anti-democratic laws led to Modi govt's 'Constitutional' changes: Scholars

Counterview Desk
A large number of academics* said to be belonging to several Indian and international institutions, even as taking strong exception to the Narendra Modi government's alleged move to amend the Constitution through "illegitimate" means, have taken strong exception to their colleagues in academia who we have become "all too accustomed to adopting a calculated silence in the face of such indignities."

Dholera 'inundated': Gujarat govt tries selling low lying area as top smart city site

Counterview Desk
Even as the Dholera Special Investment Region Regional Development Authority (DSIRDA) of the Gujarat government was busy organising a junket for Gujarat-based journalists for the area sought to be sold as an ideal special investment region (SIR) for industrialists, well-known farmers' activist Sagar Rabari has wondered why no investor has so far agreed to put in money in an area situated in Ahmedabad district along the Gulf of Khambhat.

Kashmir normal? Schoolboys, teenagers being arbitrarily picked up, detained: Report

Counterview Desk
A four-person team, consisting of Jean Dr├Ęze, well-known development economist; Kavita Krishnan, who is with the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist); Maimoona Mollah of the All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA); and Vimal Bhai of the National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), back from a five-day fact-finding mission (August 9-13) from Kashmir, has said that people they spoke to “expressed their pain, anger, and sense of betrayal against the Government of India.”
In a report, “Kashmir Caged”, released along with a short eight-minute film, they said, the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A, dissolution of the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), and bifurcating it into two Union Territories, is not being supported by anyone they met, except for BJP spokesperson on Kashmir affairs Ashwani Kumar Chrungoo, who claimed 46% vote share in J&K.
Excerpts from the report: When our flight landed, and the airlines staff announced that passeng…

Modi's Gujarati mind? Why govt move to 'sell-off' defence PSUs isn't in national interest

By Sandeep Pandey*
The Standing Committee on Defence, 2017-18, of the 16th Lok Sabha highlights the idea of Buy Indian-IDDM (Indigenously Designed Developed and Manufactured). The Committee expressed concern over the import content of equipments produced and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Ordnance Factories (OFs) and defence Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) because of the dependence it creates for military hardware on foreign suppliers.

Central Gujarat effluent channel 'releasing' highly polluted industrial wastewater: PM told

Counterview Desk
Senior environmentalists of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS), Vadodara, Rohit Prajapati and Krishnakant, in an open letter to the Prime Minister, the Gujarat chief minister, the Gujarat chief secretary, and senior Government of India and Gujarat government officials dealing with environment, pollution and climate change have said that the authorities’ response their pleas to take action against the leakages and flow of polluted wastewater from the effluent channels of Central Gujarat industrial areas has met with complete inertia.

Can't go to court with RTI information, rule Ahmedabad authorities: Kankaria accident

By Pankti Jog*
In a shocking reply to an application filed by me, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) authorities have said that the information provided under the Right to Information (RT) Act should be used in court or in a judicial process. The Act is known to be a major tool that enables citizens to seek certified copies of documents, records from any public authority of state and Central government within 30 days, as per provisions of the Act.

Quit India Movement 'betrayal' and dubious role of Hindu Mahasabha, RSS leaders

By Shamsul Islam*
After the recent guillotine of Article 370, Hindutva ideologue Ram Madhav, while celebrating the occasion stated that it was honouring of the sacrifices of Dr Shyam Prasad Mukherjee and thousands others who laid down their lives for its removal. It is to be noted that Dr Mukherjee was a cadre of RSS and was groomed into a Hindutva leader by another Hindutva icon, VD Savarkar.

Strategy for united struggle against Hindutva 'fascism': Ideological silence is 'no option'

By Dr Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
Electoral alliance and opportunism of national and regional political parties, neoliberal economic marginalisation and soft secular Hindutva line pandering to Hindu majoritarianism laid the foundation of Hindutva fascism in post-colonial India.