The National Green Tribunal has directed Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand governments to submit crisis management plan for prevention and control of forest fires to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) within two weeks.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar took exception to the fact that that the issue of management plan was pending since 2010 and directed the MoEF to file the details of states which have not submitted the management plan on forest fires.
“We direct that states of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand shall submit to the MoEF the crisis management plan for forest fires preventions and control prepared by them within two weeks….
“We direct MoEF to file the details of the states which have not responded to their reminder and have not submitted the crisis management plan in relation to protection and controlling of forest fire,” the bench, also comprising Justice R S Rathore, said.
It also directed the governments to state the causes of such fires which they have found as a result of their studies and the action plan which they have prepared.
“We make it clear that in the event of default, the MoEF and both the states would be liable to pay heavy costs which will not less than Rs 50,000,” it said while hearing a plea filed by senior advocate Rajiv Dutta against the massive forest fires in the hill areas.
The matter is now listed for hearing on September 27.
Voicing concern over forest fires raging in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, the tribunal had said it was shocked that everybody was taking the issue “so casually” and issued show cause notices to both the states.
The green panel had also directed them to inform it about the preventive steps taken by them prior to the fire incident and also about the forest management plans.
Massive forest fires had engulfed a large part of areas in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh in May.
Forest area of over 3,000 hectares has been blighted in Uttarakhand due to the fire.