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Aizawl: The Mizoram government on Wednesday constituted a state-level special investigation team headed by state chief conservator of forests (administration) RS Sinha to probe into the series of forest fires, which broke out in several parts of the state recently.

A notification issued by the government said that the investigation team will find out the reasons and causes of the outbreak of fire, assess the extent of damages, examine and document the various means deployed for control and containment of the fires.

It will also examine the existing provisions of laws, instructions and institutions in place to mitigate, prevent and respond to fires and to recommend any modifications or supplements that may be needed, it said.

Besides, the investigation team will make a recommendation for measures, modalities, regulations, among others that may be put in place to avoid an outbreak of forest fire in the future, it said.

The team is instructed to submit its recommendation or report within two months of its constitution, the notification said.

District administration and investigation teams constituted at district levels by deputy commissioners shall render all necessary support to the state-level special investigation team, it said.

Also read: Mizoram: Villages no longer safe from COVID-19 spread, say officials

The government also instructed all departments and government offices from which the investigation team requires information and cooperation to provide the same without delay.

Besides Sinha, who headed as chairman, the team comprises of two members — C Lalthanmawia, Director of Fire and Emergency Services, and J Lalthafamkima Jongte, Mizoram Inspector General of Police (AIG) — while state Disaster Management and Rehabilitation Director John LT Sanga has been appointed as member secretary.

Earlier on April 27, the state police had formed a special investigation team headed by a Sub Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) to probe into the forest fire in Lunglei district, following a complaint filed in connection with the recent fire.

Lunglei superintendent of police (SP) Rex Zarzoliana Vanchhawng said that no person has been arrested in connection with the incident till date.

The outbreak of wildlife fires, which broke out in several parts of the state in April, devastated vast tracks of forest areas, farmlands and private properties.

According to state deputy conservator of forests (headquarters) PC Laltanpuia, at least 3,003 fire incidents, including forest fires and fire from burning of jhum lands, were reported in six districts covering an extent of 9,428.88 hectares of land between November 2020 and April this year.

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