Residents living in MHADA colony and Nagari Nivara at Goregaon east have raised their concern about the thick vegetation growing on the nearby hillocks being set on fire. Last Sunday several residents complained that soot covers their buildings as well as bungalows. They have demanded a probe in the matter as the fire resulted in severe air pollution.Sharad Marathe a resident of Garden Hill building that overlooks the hillocks, which is also the point of origin of Oshiwara river, said that around 3 pm he noticed the flames sweeping and the blaze engulfing the thick carpet of shrubs and tall plants that had grown during the rains, and rapidly started covering the top of the hillock.”We immediately alerted the police who called the fire brigade and a team of firemen went up to extinguish the fire. However. a huge amount of ash and fine soot spread all over the place due to the breeze and our terrace was full of such burnt vegetation,” said Marathe adding that forest department and the cops need to investigate the matter.Social activist Sandip Sawant who stays in Chitrakoot building in Nagari Nivara said, “These wildfires are being purposely set. It kills and affects the micro and macro fauna including insects and reptiles. These fires are a regular feature in winters yet neither the forest department nor the police investigate the matter,” he said adding that he will be sending letters to Environment department demanding a probe and if nothing is done till January 26, the residents will be forced to start an agitation.FLORA, FAUNA HITSocial activist Sandip Sawant who stays in Chitrakoot building in Nagari Nivara said, “These wildfires are being purposely set. It kills and affects the micro and macro fauna including insects and reptiles. These fires are a regular feature in winters yet neither the forest department nor the police investigate the matter.”

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Locals seek respite from wildfire