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Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: The Chief of Forest Fire Task Force on Friday informed that nine points in the Similipal tiger reserve are under forest fire with 700 fire points being already identified in the State so far.

Sandeep Tripathy, who heads the task force constituted to tackle the inferno, claimed that the forest fire situation in the State is presently under control and parts of the national park experienced rainfall on Wednesday, which prevented the fire from spreading any further.

Meanwhile, all that happened in Similipal in the last 15 days apparently no longer restricted to the tiger reserve's boundaries in the district as the raging flames in the bioreserve have caught worldwide attention. Amid the ongoing fight to douse the flames, the actual reason behind the fire still eludes.

Over 15 days has lapsed but the authorities concerned are yet to ascertain whether the forest fires started from natural causes or it was a man-made act pushing lives to a disaster.

A team of the forest department has been in the core area of the sanctuary for the last couple of days to ascertain the reason behind the forest fire.

Baripada DFO Santosh Kumar Joshi said that the forest officials have already attained the two fire points identified earlier in non-forest areas. "All our staff are on alert and attaining to the issue," he said.

Amid a political slugfest over the crisis ahead of the second phase of the Budget session in the State, Union Minister Pratap Sarangi visited the affected area today urged the ruling-BJD to put aside politics and work towards dousing the flames.

"The forests continue to burn for months and people are protesting it but the government has failed to bring the situation under control," alleged Sarangi.

BJD MLA Swaroop Das, however, claimed that the ruling party leaders and legislators are in the affected areas and working towards bringing the situation under control.

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