The news about Uttrakhand fires has taken over the social media for a while now, but of course it is not as important as covering some protesting students or some other spicy and interesting story. Uttrakhand is on fire! It is burning high and dry, and I see no media channel or publishing house taking interest in this matter.
The saddest part is locals are themselves involved in burning down the forest. Rahul Sharma, a bird expert caught three minors burning a bird area. I was brought up in hills of Uttrakhand. I breathe in the very oxygen produced by those trees which are screaming out of agony at present.
And to answer those asking why they should care about “such irrelevant news” The hills are the only natural suppliers of oxygen for the NCR region, and their destruction will dry up the rivers and have a terrible effect in upcoming monsoon. When trees die, ground water evaporates. Needless to mention the condition of groundwater in Northern India is degrading day by day.
In Uttarakhand, you can find lots of Chir pine tree. Many locals are blaming the “needles” or needle-like leaves of the tree, which are highly inflammable, for the fire. In 2015, the Uttarakhand forest department had even suggested large-scale removal of the Chir pine trees to control fires. 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, my colleagues are sending videos and pictures, and all they’ve been saying is that fire isn’t being contained.
Contrary to their statement, KK Paul (Governor of Uttrakhand) has doubled the number of people engaged in containing the fire. 500 firemen deployed to help in controlling the fires and a total sum of INR 5 crores to be released to buy fire control equipment.
In addition to financial support, 11,000 personnel from National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), the Provincial Armed Constabulary and the forest department, are guarding the forest.
Well. I don’t know what fate will Uttrakhand suffer, but what saddens me the most is – no one knows about it and even if they do, they’re least bothered by it. People from all over the country talk about spending their summer vacation in the hills of Uttrakhand, adoring the beauty and panoramic views of the hills covered with accomplished forests and all that has been happening now, I don’t think there will be much left to see.
Nature always finds a way to compensate its loss, and the history is evident, it doesn’t end well for human species.