Special Task Force, Cancelled Leaves & Arrest, Odisha Going All Out To Douse Similipal Forest Fire

Bhubaneswar: Hours after a video of queen Rashmi Rajya Laxmi Bhanj Deo and her daughter princess Akshita M Bhanj Deo dousing flames in Bangiriposhi forest range of Similipal National Park went viral, the Odisha government on Monday constituted a task force led by former PCCF Sandeep Tripathy to review the ongoing forest fire, its causes and recommend immediate containment measures.

Forest and Environment Minister Bikram Arukh told the media that 1175 personnel, seven nodal officers and 40 vehicles have been engaged to douse flames at 1400 fire points in Similipal.

“The government is taking measures and no animals are harmed. Opposition allegations are baseless,” he added.

Meanwhile, Baripada Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Santosh Joshi has cancelled the leaves of all forest staff. “As of now, a total of 100 personnel have been engaged in fire fighting operations in various ranges,” he said.

He warned the miscreants of immediate arrest if found involved in setting the forest on fire.

Earlier in the day, a youth, identified as Pradhan Hembram, was arrested while attempting to set fire in Ambaturia forest under Dudhiani range in the district.

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