Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday spoke to Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthangs over phone about the forest fire in the northeastern state and assured all help of the Central government, officials said.
After discussing with the Mizoram CM, Modi tweeted: “Spoke to Mizoram CM Mr. Zoramthanga and took stock of the situation arising due to forest fires in parts of the state. Assured all possible support from the Centre in overcoming this crisis. We all pray for the safety and wellbeing of the people of Mizoram.”
In reply, Zoramtahnga tweeted: “Thank you so much Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modiji. I thank the Central Government for its prompt assurance and swift action. The people of Mizoram says ‘Kan lawm e’ (we thank you).”
Zoramthanga had on Sunday sought help from the Indian Air Force (IAF) as well as the locals in dousing the forest inferno in Lunglei district and its adjoining areas, which shares borders with Myanmar and Bangladesh.
Officials in Aizawl said that one helicopter of the IAF reached Lunglei and has done a recce with the Lunglei Deputy Commissioner onboard.
“No flame reported. Only smoke was observed at two places for which Bambi bucket operation by one helicopter was conducted on Monday morning. The IAF’s second helicopter is being held back at Guwahati,” a district official said.
Lunglei district’s Deputy Commissioner Kulothungan A. said that over 95 per cent of the fire has been doused and there is no casualty or major damages to the people’s habitations due to the blaze.
“However, as the flames are also reported in the adjoining Serchhip district, the IAF might press into service their helicopters to douse the fire in the distict. We are not yet able to assess the gravity and volume of the damages due to the forest fire. However, it would be done soon,” the Deputy Commissioner told IANS over phone.
The Assam Rifles, the Border Security Force (BSF), hundreds of volunteers, disaster management and fre and emergency services personnel have put their combined efforts to control the inferno that begun on Saturday.
An official statement said that the fire was initially concentrated in the uninhabited forest areas surrounding the Lunglei town on Saturday and on Sunday it spread to more than 10 village council areas adjoining the town.
“Dry vegetation due to drought conditions, coupled with strong winds, has made the mission extremely challenging, and the unfriendly terrain of the area also poses a very serious risk and hindrance for the firefighters,” the statement said.
The Lunglei district blaze is the fifth major forest fire in the four northeastern states – Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Mizoram – reproted since January this year.