A day after the forest fire spread to Gaya Dongor at Cotarli-Sanguem, firefighters and forest officials overcame various hurdles and battled for six hours before finally bringing the fire under control on Wednesday.
The fire was raging in the afternoon and as the site of the fire incident was in the deep interiors with no motorable access, firefighters and officials had to walk for about two hours to reach the site with firefighting equipment.
A team of government officials headed by Sanguem deputy collector, Sanguem Mamlatdar and Assistant Conservator of Forests Minguel Fernandes camped at the site till late Wednesday evening, supervising the firefighting operations while simultaneously putting in whatever physical help they could render in the operations.
Fernandes, however, lamented that apart from Molcornem panch Frazer Da Costa, other locals who claim to have their paddy fields and agricultural plantations close to the fire incident did not offer any help to government agencies in extinguishing the fire.
“The fire first started at a bamboo plantation and then spread all around the hill, which is not accessible with any motorable road,” said Fernandes.
“The fire and forest department officials first set a line of control a few metres from the raging fire and then made all possible attempts to douse the fire with human labour and minimal fire extinguishing equipment.”
Fernandes also informed that earlier in the day, fire incidents were reported at Kurpem and Sulcorna villages in private farms and on forest department owned property.
“Both the fire incidents were soon brought under control by the fire and forest teams,” informed Fernandes.
Meanwhile, locals Santano Rodrigues, Milton Fernandes and Molcornem panch Frazer Da Costa have appealed to the government to conduct an inquiry into the cause of the fire incident at Cotarli, as the same site was proposed for setting up for the IIT project but later turned down by the Centre citing several reasons.
Da Costa also complimented the team of forest and fire officials for the efforts they put in to bring the fire under control despite the many hurdles they had to face in reaching the site.
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