The 15th Maharashtra wildlife board meeting, chaired by chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, yesterday (Friday, 7th August 2020) unanimously rejected the upgradation proposal of railway line through Melghat Tiger Reserve (MTR) in Amravati district and also ordered the setting up of an expert committee to consider translocation of 50 tigers from Chandrapur district.
The board members hailed Thackeray for his bold decision to refuse railways permission for broadening of metre gauge line through MTR. Overwhelmed by the drone photography of the tiger reserve showing the railway line and forest, the CM asked officials to submit aerial pictures as evidence while submitting proposals.
“For me development doesn’t mean only constructions. The government is committed to protect forest and wildlife. Officials should study whether proposals match with public demand. No easy ways should be found to divert forest land at the cost of environment. This is why I decided to reject railway line upgradation between Akot and Khandwa through MTR,” Thackeray is learnt to have said.
With this, the state has closed the chapter on the issue and the railways will have to look at the optional route outside the reserve.