Similipal fire: Centre rushes 3-member expert team to help govt

New Delhi: Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar on Wednesday said that a three-member expert team has been sent to Odisha to help the state government in controlling the unprecedented forest fire in Similipal National Park.

The panel will tender expert technical advice for early dousing of the forest fires, Javadekar tweeted.

The expert team consists of Amit Mallick, IGF of National Tiger Conservation Authority, Subratt Mahapatra, DDG of the ministry’s regional office in Bhubaneswar and Arti Chaudhary of Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education as the fire expert.

They have also been asked to assess the status of the fire incidents in the biosphere reserve, give their advice to the state for containing the fire in the forest area and provide the status of loss of forest and wildlife and its relationship with poaching, if any.

The team will be working there till the state attains normalcy with respect to the fire incidents.

The Environment Minister said that he will monitor the everyday map of the forest fire detections in Odisha and a separate map showing fire detection in Similipal Tiger Reserve.

A massive fire erupted in the biosphere reserve area in February.

Similipal is a national park and tiger reserve situated in Odisha’s Mayurbhanj district. The 2,750 sq km area harbours unique melanistic tigers, rare and endemic orchids, 1,352 species of plants, 55 species of mammals, 361 of birds, 62 of reptiles and 21 species of amphibians.

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