Uddhav Thackeray, the former CM of Maharashtra, has been vocal about the importance of the wildlife and bio-diversity of his state. In a recent statement, he talked about how essential trees and their effect is, especially during the pandemic. Maharashtra has a fantastic swathe of flora and fauna, and it always deserved to be protected. These efforts to conserve the environment will also net gains against climate change and prevent natural disasters. The former CM has proven his commitment towards preserving the environment in several decisions taken by his government over the past few years.
Turning 812 acres of land in the Aarey colony into reserve forest land is one of the most important environmentally conscious decisions. Udhav Thackerey had claimed the land in September of 2020. The plan was to convert 600 acres of land in Aarey Milk Colony into a reserve forest. In 2021 the project was updated, and 812 acres of land near the Sanjay Gandhi National Park was handed to the Maharashtra forest department. According to the former CM, this decision was made to conserve biodiversity and protect the tribal communities’ rights.
The Maharashtra government’s insistence on refusing the MTR railway passing through the Melghat reserve is another important decision by the then CM. The proposed upgrades to the railway line would cause immense adverse effects on the species of endangered tigers in the Melghat Tiger Reserve. Rehabilitating 13 villages within that area has also been essential in increasing wildlife. He stood firm on his stance as he believed the railway project might cause irreversible damage and lose the benefits.
Another critical decision by Uddhav Thackerey’s government was removing a 2.3 km surface road in the Thane-Godhbunder stretch. Instead, a high passage will be constructed along with culverts and a plan to create 16 hectares of afforested land. This decision would help protect leopards and the number of incidents of wildlife being run over across this road. The CM also recently approved the proposal for Thane Creek to apply for the list of recognised Ramsar sites. This decision was meant to put the swamp on the map of the world’s tourist destinations, help people understand the importance of the marsh and speed up its protection and conservation.
Earlier in June 2022, Uddhav chaired a State Wildlife Board’s 18th meeting and the outcome gave Maharashtra 12 new reserves along with 3 sanctuaries. Aditya Thackeray has helped mitigate the transfer of many mangrove lands into the hands of forest dept. Clearly suggesting Aditya Thackeray’s soft corner towards mangrove habitats. Under Uddhav & Aditya Thackeray’s environmentally conscious vision Maharashtra became India’s first state to declare 10 year Wildlife action plan.
Decisions like this and more help the people see how dedicated and consistent the former minister is to preserving and conserving the natural biodiversity of the state. It is crucial to the world that governments take definitive stances to protect the environment and make strides in this area. Uddhav Thakeray along with his environmentally sensitive sons have contributed more than enough for nature conservation. Uddhav’s son Tejas Thackeray is an avid wildlife researcher. He has discovered quite a few new wildlife species from Maharashtra and continues to do so. Even Aditya Thackeray has proven his commitment towards environmental conservation during his stint as the environment minister of Maharashtra.