Considering the success of the “Fire Free Pench Programme” during 2022 fire season, Pench Maharashtra is organising the programme in current year also. The programme has been started from 15th February of this month.
During 2022 programme, a competition was organised among the villages for their overall efforts in the prevention of the forest fire. It got overwhelming response as 37 villages out of total 39 villages present in buffer area of the PTR participated in this programme. This programme helped in overall 67% reduction in the total forest area burnt which was 659 ha during 2021 and came down to 218 ha during 2022.
Furthermore, there was 52% reduction in number of fire incidence which was 63 during 2021 and came down to 30 during 2022 and only 3 incidence of fire were adjoining to farm and village areas. In this programme Sarapanch and EDC President of Kolitmara, Surera and Ghat pendhri villages of the Parshioni Taluka received 1st, 2nd and 3rd place respectively. This programme has helped in creating support base in villages for the forest protection and will help in further arresting forest fire incidence.
Participation in this programme, requires willingness of the villagers through their tharav as a prerequisite. In all the villages, voluntary patrolling sqads will be made for the public awareness, patrolling the sensitive forest areas and helping forest department in case of any fire incidence.
Performance of the villages will be assessed based upon 10 criteria such as tharav of the villages, number of meetings taking place at village level for execution and coordination, size of the voluntary squads, number of patrollings carried out by squad, number of fire incidences, use of net for the mahua collection, efforts in arresting spread of fire from farms, grazing incidence in forest etc and other innovative steps.
A committee consisting of ACF Shri Atul deokar, ACF Shri Kiran patil, Shri Mandar Pingale from the Satpuda Foundation and Shri Ajinkya Bhatkar, Hon WLW has been constituted to assess the overall performance of the villages.Date: 16th Feb, 2023