Kohima/Imphal, (Asian independent) The Indian Air Force (IAF) and state authorities are battling the raging wildfire in the famed Dzukou Valley on the border of Manipur and Nagaland, that has so far caused huge damage to the environment.
IAF spokesman Wing Commander Ratnakar Singh said that following a requisition by Nagaland, the Headquarters of the Eastern Air Command in Shillong has deployed a Mi-17V5 helicopter to check the wildfire.
“The helicopter is equipped with Bambi Bucket for fire fighting in Dzukou Range near Kohima,” Wing Commander Singh told IANS over phone from Shillong.
Officer on Special Duty of the Nagaland State Disaster Management Authority, Johnny Ruangmei said that the army, state police, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), forest department, volunteers of Southern Angami Youth Organisation (SAYO) accompanied by the local people and NGOs are jointly making fire lines in the Valley to break off the link between the blaze and the forest.
“We would start the actual dousing process from Friday with the help of the Army, IAF and the other authorities,” Ruangmei told IANS over phone from Kohima.
In several tweets, tagged with the Prime Minister’s Office, Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh, who also conducted an aerial survey on Thursday to take stock of the wildfire, sought the help of all concerned to douse the fire.
He said: “The wildfire that broke out at Dzukou valley 2-3 days back has spread quite extensively and caused serious damage on this part of mountain range. The fire service, forest officials and volunteers have been reaching the site.”
“Taking serious view of the wildfire at Dzukou Valley, having a personal aerial survey of the situation, sending more personnel to the spot and seeking help from the concerned authorities to prevent the spread of the blaze and save the deep forest portion of the Valley.”
In another tweet, Singh said that the wildfire is very alarming now and needs immediate attention before it spreads towards Mount Iso.
“Also requesting the NDRF to assist us to contain the situation”.
“The fire has already crossed Mount Iso, the highest peak of Manipur. If the wind direction is going to the southern side, there is a high possibility of entering in the thickest forest called Koziirii in Manipur. Need help,” the Chief Minister added.
Nagaland Governor R. N. Ravi, accompanied by Kohima district officials including Deputy Commissioner and Superintendent of Police along with members of the local NGOs, visited the Dzukou Valley on Wednesday for a first hand assessment of the intensity of the fire and the destruction being caused by it.
“Unfortunately, absence of a functional Standard Operating Protocol to effectively respond to such a disaster has aggravated the situation,” a Raj Bhavan statement said.
The iconic Dzukou valley, situated at an altitude of 2,452 metres above the sea level, is a popular tourist spot and also famous for its seasonal flowers and bio-diversity.