Mangaluru, April 1, 2016: Well-known group of environmentalists Sahyadri Samrakshana Sanchaya has expressed its grave concern over the several incidents of forest fires in the ecologically sensitive Western Ghats. What has bothered the Sanchaya the most is that humans were responsible for most of these forest fires.
Speaking to reporters here on April 1, Friday, Dinesh Holla, Convenor of the Sanchaya stated that already forest fires in Western Ghats have engulfed several hectares of Shola land and also caused harm to wildlife. Though such fires occur during summer this time fire was noticed in January itself, he added.
Several areas like Barimale, Somanakadu, Ramanabetta, Dodderibetta have been destroyed due to the fire and in many cases it is due to the ganja mafia which makes its way into the forests, he alleged.
He also pointed out that the Forest Department lacked facilities to extinguish such fires and added that the fires have even affected the elephant corridors. This is also responsible for man –animal conflict, he added.
Holla further alleged that the estate mafia has encroached upon the Western Ghat areas and has planted rubber and coffee plants in the area.
Shashidhar Shetty, member of the Sanchaya who also spoke said hunting of wild animals was rampant and that nearly 4,400 gun licences have even issued in Sullia taluk alone. He also stated that those holding gun licences should use the guns to drive away the animals but not to kill them.