SC summons Uttarakhand Chief Secretary on May 17 over forest fires

New Delhi, May 15 The Supreme Court on Wednesday summoned the Uttarakhand Chief Secretary in person on May 17 over the alarming rise of forest fires in the state.

A bench, headed by Justice B.R. Gavai, came down heavily on the state government for under-utilisation of available funds to tackle the issue.

Expressing displeasure on the number of vacant positions in the Forest Department, the bench, also comprising Justices S.V.N. Bhatti and Sandeep Mehta, remarked that the workforce is not available to control forest fires and sought to know the timeline to fill the existing vacancies in the department.

It noted that the Election Commission of India has already exempted forest staff and vehicles from election and allied purposes in Uttarakhand.

During the hearing, the apex court also expressed concern at the non-payment of salaries of contractual staff in the Forest Department.

The matter will be taken up for further hearing on May 17.

Source: IANS

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