Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 26 spoke to Mizoram chief minister Zoramthanga over phone about the forest fire in Lunglei and assured all help of the central government, officials said.
After discussing with the Mizoram CM, Modi tweeted: “Spoke to Mizoram CM Mr Zoramthanga and took stock of the situation arising due to forest fires in parts of the state. Assured all possible support from the Centre in overcoming this crisis. We all pray for the safety and wellbeing of the people of Mizoram.”
In reply, Zoramthanga tweeted: “Thank you so much prime minister Shri Narendra Modiji. I thank the central government for its prompt assurance and swift action. The people of Mizoram says, ‘Kan lawm e’ (we thank you).”
CM Zoramthanga had on April 25 sought help from the Indian Air Force (IAF) as well as the locals in dousing the forest inferno in Lunglei district and its adjoining areas, which shares borders with Myanmar and Bangladesh.
Officials in Aizawl said that one helicopter of the IAF reached Lunglei and has done a recce with the Lunglei deputy commissioner onboard.
“No flame reported. Only smoke was observed at two places for which Bambi bucket operation by one helicopter was conducted on April 26 morning. The IAF’s second helicopter is being held back at Guwahati,” a district official said.
Lunglei deputy commissioner Kulothungan A said that over 95 per cent of the fire has been doused and there is no casualty or major damages to the people’s habitations due to the blaze.
“However, as the flames are also reported in the adjoining Serchhip district, the IAF might press into service their helicopters to douse the fire in the district. We are not yet able to assess the gravity and volume of the damages due to the forest fire. However, it would be done soon,” the deputy commissioner was quoted as saying in a media report.
Disaster management and fire and emergency services personnel, the Assam Rifles, the Border Security Force (BSF) and hundreds of volunteers have put their combined efforts to control the inferno that begun on April 24.
An official statement said that the fire was initially concentrated in the uninhabited forest areas surrounding the Lunglei town on April 25 and on April 26 it spread to more than 10 village council areas adjoining the town.
“Dry vegetation due to drought conditions, coupled with strong winds, has made the mission extremely challenging, and the unfriendly terrain also poses a very serious risk and hindrance for the firefighters,” the statement said.