The Maharashtra government on Friday made drone survey and environment impact assessment reports mandatory for projects seeking the approval of the State Board for Wildlife (SBWL).Chairing the SBWL’s 15th meeting, the first in the past two years, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said his government does not limit development to just new constructions. “The government is committed to forests, animals and conservation. Any project brought for approval before the board must have the drone survey report. Only projects with detailed photographs and reports will be considered henceforth,” he said.The SWBL cleared a proposal to declare Sonneratia alba as the State mangrove tree and approved a recovery programme for the Arabian Sea Humpback Whale. The board also appointed a study group to take up the issue of tiger conservation in Chandrapur district. Mr. Thackeray said Maharashtra is the only State to give the Centre its in-principle approval for the protection of the Western Ghats by categorising it as an environmentally sensitive area. “Any proposal for according it the status of restricted zone should be taken after analysing people’s opinion. No easy way should be taken at the cost of the environment,” he said.
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