Boudh: A large number of valuable trees have been reduced to ashes over the last seven days as a major fire has been consistently burning several reserve forests of Boudh district. But the forest department is yet to take any action on the issue.
Sources said the fire has engulfed over 30 forests under Madhapur, Puruna Cuttack, Kantamal and Manamunda Forest Ranges in the district affecting the atmosphere and environment in the whole area.
Valuable trees, including giant Sal trees, Mahula, Dharua and Phasi have been destroyed due to the fire. However, the concerned officials are yet to take steps to douse the flames. Meanwhile, local residents are having a tough time bearing intense heat due to the fire.
Environmentalists have also expressed their concern over the issue. "Though the forest department is understaffed, they should sensitise the locals about the issue and engage them in various drives to protect the forest."
On the other hand, forest officials claim that the forest fire is the handiwork of some locals who ventured into the forests to collect Kendu leaves and Mahula.
However, Boudh DFO Jasobanta Sethy said, "In view of the frequent forest fire in the district, we have formed a special squad to tackle it. Villagers are also assisting the team in dousing flames."