Video Editor: Sandeep Suman
Video Producer: Maaz Hasan
Camera Work: Debashish Mishra, Aalind Singh
Similipal National Park burnt for over a week before the news was covered by mainstream media. Asia’s second-largest biosphere was burning and I got to know about this from a tweet by Akshita Bhanj Deo, a member of the royal family of Mayurbhanj, which drew light upon the situation in Similipal, and that's how my journey began.
I reached the Similipal forest on 5 March and it had been more than 10 days since the forest had been on fire. One would expect that the fire would have been brought under control, but to my surprise, it wasn’t.
As I reached the forest, I could see the trail of destruction caused by the fire. There were clusters of fire which were destroying the Similipal National Park in front of my eyes and I could do nothing about it.
Locals around the area told me that their crops had been damaged due to the fire and smoke. With nowhere to go to escape the fire, wild animals ran towards the villages.
There is no doubt that the government was not prepared for a situation like this. But, things are getting better. The chief minister of Odisha recently enabled a task force to get things under control.
The Odisha government on Tuesday claimed that the fire is under control, but locals say that the government has managed to douse the fire at certain locations only, and at many places, the forest is still burning.
No matter what the claims and counter-claims around the situation are at the Similipal National Park, we pray that the fire in the forest gets doused completely and life in and around Similipal resumes to normalcy.
(All 'My Report' branded stories are submitted by citizen journalists to The Quint. Though The Quint inquires into the claims/allegations from all parties before publishing, the report and the views expressed above are the citizen journalist's own. The Quint neither endorses, nor is responsible for the same.)