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Mumbai: Goregaon forest fire looks suspicious: environment minister Ramdas Kadam

Mumbai: Maharashtra Environment Minister Ramdas Kadam said Thursday that the state home secretary has been asked to probe the massive fire which erupted near the Aarey Colony forest in suburban Goregaon three days ago.

Some trees in the area were found to be chopped, he noted, saying that the fire, which destroyed trees and other vegetation over an area of about 3-4 sq km, arose suspicion.

Kadam spoke to PTI after visiting the spot.

“I saw that the whole area had been fenced with a wall so that no outsiders can enter. So the question is, how did this fire start? I also saw that trees had been purposefully chopped off, after which the fire either erupted by itself (through a mishap) or there was some mischief,” he said.

While the police has been asked to conduct a probe, he has also written the state home secretary to conduct an inquiry, Kadam said.

“Prima facie, the fire seems suspicious. I am obtaining more information about the place, however, when I asked for a map, none was available. So how did they fence the area in the absence of a map?” he said.

Trees in a specific belt inside the compound wall were gutted while the vegetation outside the compound, which come under the forest department, was unharmed, he noted.

Kadam, a senior Shiv Sena leader, said he will submit a detailed report about the fire to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in the next cabinet meeting.

The blaze had triggered an alarm as it threatened to affect tribal residents in the city’s biggest green lung. The fire brigade took six hours to douse the flames.

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