Cong targets Centre over forest fires in Uttarakhand

New Delhi: Congress today attacked the Centre over the raging forest fires in Uttarakhand, which is under President’s rule, saying the Narendra Modi government has “miserably failed” to tackle one of the biggest environmental tragedies of recent times.

“On one side Modi government is fuelling the fire of political defection in the peaceful state of Uttarakhand and on the other side the government has miserably failed to tackle one of the biggest environmental tragedies of recent times,” Congress’ communication department chief Randeep Surjewala said.

Surjewala claimed that over 5,500 hectares of valuable flora and fauna have been lost in the forest fires.

Former Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna, who backed nine Congress MLAs who rebelled against the Harish Rawat government last month, blamed the previous government for failing to make a plan in the past to meet such an eventuality.

“What was lacking from the very beginning was that we did not have a plan by the state government and the forest department to meet such an eventuality,” he said.

He said if the state government lacked resources to make a plan, it should have asked for assistance from the Centre.

The raging fire in the forest areas of Uttarakhand have destroyed about 2,269 hectares of jungles in several districts and claimed at least seven lives till now.

Pauri, Nainital, Rudraprayag and Tehri are among the worst-hit districts.