Denying a media report that alerts of the Forest Survey of India (FSI), in connection with the recent Kurangani forest fires in Tamil Nadu, did not reach the state’s forest department, the environment ministry today said two such alerts were issued.
In a statement, it said on March 13, a Chennai-based publication, quoting the Director General, Forests and Special Secretary of the ministry, had reported that the Tamil Nadu forest department did not receive the FSI fire-alerts.
Refuting the report, the office of the DG, Forests and Special Secretary had stated that the facts were “misrepresented” in it, the statement said.
“DG, Forests and Special Secretary Siddhanta Das said he was only saying that he was not aware of the factual position as to whether the alerts were properly received by the state forest department and that he would be able to confirm the dispatch of such alerts only after speaking to the DG, FSI, from where the alerts are generated,” the statement said.
The Kurangani forest fires have claimed more than 10 lives.
The statement said two e-mails, providing the co-ordinates of the forest fires, were sent to the nodal officer of Tamil Nadu Forest Department at 2.29 pm and 3.37 pm on March 11.
“The alerts pertaining to two satellite passes (MODIS and SNPP) were auto-processed after receiving information from the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), Hyderabad, and e-mail alerts were sent to the nodal officer of Tamil Nadu Forest Department,” it said.
The DG, FSI had informed the ministry that in collaboration with NRSC, Hyderabad, it always sent forest fire alerts to the state forest departments through e-mails and text messages, the statement added.
It said the automation of the whole process, including night-time fire alerts, was carried out by the FSI, which had led to a significant reduction in the time taken for data processing and sending alerts.
The ministry also gave the details of the automated alerts pertaining to the Kurangani forest fires, disseminated by the FSI on March 11 to the nodal officer, Tamil Nadu Forest Department.