Nagpur: After all, what can be said as evidence of the forest fire being man-made, The Forest Department of Paratwada has arrested two local youths red-handed while setting fire to the forest in the Akot range which comes under the buffer zone of MTR.
Both these accused have been identified as Hariram Sona Jambhekar (22) and Rajkumar Rambabu Kasdekar (23), residents of Baspani in Dharni tehsil. Both these accused were involved in setting fire to three coaches.
According to Jayoti Banerjee, Melghat Tiger Reserve’s (MTR) chief conservator and field director. The forest team had received information about the fire on the date of April 9. During routine patrol, the team had noticed a fire in about 970 and 975 coaches and then doused them.
However, as soon as this team went towards Khatkali. They saw that both the accused were setting fire to the forest in compartment number 971. The forest team stopped him and then he threw matches. The field staff has interrogated these youths who have accepted that the forest has caught fire.
2,800 sq km of Melghat Tiger Reserve spread
Both these accused had been booked under sections 26(1)B, 26(1)D, and 52 of the Indian Forest Act, 1927. He has been produced before Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC), Paratwada. Who has sent them to forest custody till the date of 12 April.
More than 2,800 sq km of Melghat Tiger Reserve spread over these five districts is already reeling under severe forest fires. Since the month of February, more than 850 hectares of forest have been destroyed by the fire.
The action was initiated by ACF YV Nikam and deputy conservator (DyCF) S Navkishore Reddy. Forest guards ND Pawar, Akot RFO Gajanan Gaikwad, round officer Nilima Ugle, RP Sasane, BM Devkamble and van majoors Krishna Surtane and Shankar Belsare were part of the raiding party.