A magistrate's court in Maharashtra has ordered a farmer who unintentionally triggered a massive wildfire to plant 1,000 saplings and take care of them.
Subhash Ramrao Patil, resident of Nandgaon village in Satara district, admitted to his guilt before a Judicial Magistrate First Class in Karad tehsil on Friday.
Magistrate S A Virani then ordered him to pay a fine of Rs 5,000, and also plant 1,000 saplings and take care of them.
Mr Patil was asked to submit a detailed report about the plantation and survival of saplings to the forest department's office at Malkapur.
"A complaint had been filed against Patil under the Indian Forest Act in April for setting sugarcane stubble in his farm on fire. Due to the strong wind, the fire spread to the adjacent forest," said a forest official.
As many as 1,622 fully grown trees of Banyan, Peepal, Senegalia catechu (Khair), Neem, Kanchan and Karanja (Millettia pinnata) were completely destroyed in the blaze and the grass on a large tract of land was also damaged, he said.
During the hearing, Patil admitted to his mistake but argued that it was not his intention to start a wildfire, the official added.
"We welcome this decision as it would sensitize people about forest conservation, he said.