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Forest Minister Vishwajit Rane Lied to Assembly & Goans to Fullfill his Aspiration of Becoming Minister for Concrete Jungles- Amit Patkar



Panaji: It is shocking that the Forest Department has deliberately informed the Goa Legislative Assembly that the loss incurred to Forests, Human Lives and Lives of various Species, Flora and Fauna due to Forest Fires is “Nil” when the Department is yet to complete the Inquiry of the Forest Fires in Goa from 2019 till March 2023. Forest Minster Vishwajit Rane lied to Assembly and Goans with False Replies to fulfill his Aspiration of becoming Minister for Concrete Jungles, charged Congress President Amit Patkar. Surprisingly the Principal Conservator of Forest informed our Delegation that no Inquiry was ordered of Fire Incidents before 2022.

We demand a High-Level Inquiry under Retired High Court Judge with experts from various fields as its members to Investigate the cause of the Fires in Forest and Eco Sensitive Areas. We also demand that the Government must declare all the Scorched Land as “No Development Zone” and should not allow Conversions of the said Land to Settlement Zones or Eco Tourism Projects, stated Amit Patkar.

Congress Party led by Amit Patkar today called on the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest and submitted a Memorandum condemning delay and ignorance on part of Forest Department to Investigate the Forest Fires in Goa. Aldona MLA Adv. Carlos Alvares Ferreira, Amarnath Panjikar, Manisha Usgaonkar, Capt. Viriato Fernandes, Sudhin Naik, Everson Vales, Avadhoot Amonkar, Orville Dourado, Vishal Volvoikar and others.

The Replies given to the Legislative Assembly Questions states that 470.22 hectares Forest Area was affected by 200 incidents of Forest Fires from 2019 till March 2023. The Reply further states that the cause of the Fire was “Environmental and Anthropogenic Factor”. However, the Reply states that there was “Nil” damage to Forests, Human Lives, Lives of various Species, Flora and Fauna, pointed Amit Patkar.

The Reply to the same LAQ states that the Inquiry pertaining to Fire Incidents in Forest Areas of Goa from 2019 onwards is in progress by the Deputy Conservator of Forest of the concerned Division of the Forest Department. How can Forest Minister Vishwajit Rane conclude the loss from Forest Fire is Nil when the Conservator of Forest says that the Inquiry is still in progress? Questioned Amit Patkar.

Forest Department is completely ill-prepared to handle Fire and other Incidences in Forest Areas. There are no proper Gadgets available with the Forest Department to control and fight Fires, claimed Adv. Shriniwas Khalap.

There is no adequate training in Fire Fighting provided to Forest Officials. This is deliberately done to cause rapid Forest Fires which can eventually help in converting Jungles into Concrete Jungles, stated Capt. Viriato Fernandes.

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