Order of the National Green Tribunal regarding forest fire control, 28/05/2019

  • 28/05/2019

Order of the National Green Tribunal Vs Union of India & Others dated 28/05/2019 regarding control of forest fires. Report filed by the MoEF&CC states that forest fire hotspots have been identified which are 74 in number based on Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectro-radiometer (MODIS) data. Satellite-based forest fire alerts are sent through sms/e-mails for effective measures. Compensatory Afforestation Fund Act 2016 and Rules, 2018 provide for utilization of Net Present Value (NPV) for protection of forests from fire and State Forest Departments are utilizing the fund for the said purpose.

NGT while acknowledging that a comprehensive action plan has been duly adopted, its implementation requires a robust institutional mechanism in view of increase in the incidents in spite of such a plan. Such mechanism may comprise of representatives of the MoEF&CC, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, National Disaster Management Authority, Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE), Dehradun, Forest Survey of India and the National Remote Sensing Centre, Hyderabad representing the Central Government on the one hand and the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests of all the States/UTs on the other. The Central Monitoring Committee would be headed by the Secretary, MoEF&CC. The Central Monitoring Committee has been asked to meet  once in three months and address all the issues arising out of the forest fires, including the effective implementation of the National Action Plan on Forest Fire (NAPFF). Further, a national level database to be developed under NAPFF for burnt area assessment should have standardized protocols and procedures to facilitate the reporting of the area affected and losses due to forest fire which is to be developed by the ICFRE in association with FSI and other institutions.

The Central Monitoring Committee should hold its first meeting as early as possible, preferably within three weeks in view of ongoing season for forest fires and MoEF&CC has been directed to issue directions for constitution of appropriate institutional mechanism at state levels also.