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New Survey for Mumbai’s salt pan land ready  

   Posted on 9th Apr 2018 12:42:36 in Developers

In Mumbai, there is no single salt pan plot that is of 1,000 acres. Due to this, a possibility opens up for the development on salt pans in the city as only contiguous land over 1,000 acres can be termed as wetland.  

The issue was discussed during a meeting held by the state’s chief secretary soon after the directive for a new survey of salt pans came from the Union environment ministry. “MMRDA" has started the survey,” said a senior official.

Devendra Fadnavis, Chief Minister had announced three years back that 600 acres of Mumbai’s Salt pans could be used to build affordable homes. In 2016, MMRDA surveyed all salt pan parcels and established that barely 25 acres of such land—a negligible 0.5%—is developable. Worse, these pockets are not contiguous, but are in bits and pieces in different locations of the eastern suburbs.

The survey found that large swathes of salt pans cannot be built upon as they are wetland or covered with mangroves. Some expanses are encroached by slums and buildings while other plots are under litigation and title disputes. After the report was submitted, a senior government official had told TOI that there could be no scope to prepare a master plan for housing on salt pan land. “The Centre will have to change the rules to allow construction,” he had said. Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms ban construction near wetland and mangroves.

“Salt pans are still categorized as CRZ 1 as per the 2011 CRZ notification. Since salt pans fall within the high tide line and low tide line, there is no question of any building proposal being permitted in these areas,” Debi Goenka of Conservation Action Trust said.

The sprawling salt pans act as a natural buffer along Mumbai’s coastline and are part of a contiguous ecosystem that includes estuaries, wetlands and mangroves. They are free of human habitation and afford the last few tracts of open space and clean air available around the city.

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