While officials have pegged the loss incurred in Uttarakhand forest fire at Rs 29 lakh, those in the know of things say the authorities are underrating the loss.
As much as 2,900 hectare of forest land was affected in the fire till Monday but going by the official calculation, there was loss of only Rs 1 lakh for every 100 hectare.
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“We strictly follow the rulebook that has details on calculating loss of forest resources. For example, a forest that has new plantation has different rates than a forest that has ample number of trees,” said BP Gupta, nodal officer for forest fire.
Nainital-based ecologist Anup Sah said the loss was to the tune of millions of rupees as it has not only taken a toll on forest resources but also on ecology.
“One can’t calculate loss like this (the way forest department is doing). What about various species of birds, butterflies and vegetation that have been lost?” he asked.
Echoing his views, Kumaon-based environment activist Ajoy Eric Lal said the real loss would be there for all to see during monsoon.
“Vegetation plays pivotal role in holding upper layer of the land. After the massive forest fire, there will be less of vegetation resulting in flood like-situation during monsoon,” he added.