Pine needles threaten Dharamsala residential areas

Pine needles threaten Dharamsala residential areas

2022-04-28 01:34:35

Lalit Mohan

Dharamsala, April 27

The huge deposits of pine needles in and near residential areas of Dharamsala is worrying residents. With the temperature soaring, locals feel that huge heaps of pine needles near their dwellings could catch fire anytime and threaten their life and property.

Residents of the Cheelgari area of Dharamsala, which has got its name from the pine forest in which it was located, have complained to the authorities that the pine bio waste lying in their area should be removed.

They said there were huge deposits of pine needle bio waste lying in their colony. “Earlier, we used to collect pine needles and set them on fire in a controlled manner. However, under the Smart City Scheme, the authorities have barred us from burning these. Anybody found burning pine needles will attract heavy fine.

The authorities should themselves clear the bio waste of pine trees lying in their area or else it could become a source of forest fire, said RC Chawla, a resident.

Dharamsala Municipal Corporation Commissioner Pradeep Thakur, when contacted, admitted that many areas were facing threat of forest fire due to the heavy deposition of pine tree bio waste. “In the municipal corporation areas, we get the bio waste gathered and dispose it of in a scientific manner. However, many areas in Dharamsala city are designated as forest areas, where only the forest department was competent to get bio waste removed,” he said.

When asked if the people were not allowed to burn pine trees bio waste in their vicinity, the commissioner said the ban had been imposed by the pollution control board.

Dharamsala city has pine forests in Cheelgari and Indrunag Hill areas. Indrunag Hill has witnessed forest fires occasionally. The cause of forest fires has always been huge deposition of bio waste of pine trees that is highly inflammable. Many times schemes have been proposed for scientific disposal of pine bio waste. It was proposed the pine bio waste could be used in kilns of cement companies. However, none of proposals has materialised and pine trees bio waste continues to threat for forest fires during summers.

Staff deputed to remove waste

The Forest Department has deputed workers to remove the pine bio waste (pic) from forests inside the residential areas. We are keeping a vigil that no forest fire breaks out in the area. — Sanjeev Kumar, DFO, Dharamsala

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