While the BJP-led state government plans to open up Mumbai’s salt pan lands for housing, the Shiv Sena is likely to throw a spanner in the works.
Sunil Prabhu, a Shiv Sena legislator and former Mumbai Mayor, on Monday wrote to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, asking him to stop sale of salt pan lands. He said, several “land mafia” from within the government are pushing for the opening of city’s vacant salt pans for builders. Shiv Sena youth wing chief Aaditya Thackeray posted the letter on his Twitter account.
Speaking to HT, Prabhu said, “The salt pans and mangroves are environmentally important to Mumbai. They form a natural protective boundary around Mumbai and should not be tampered with. If at all the state government wants to fill its affordable housing target, it should make land available elsewhere and leave the salt pans alone.”
He added, the state should instead focus its attention on creating low-cost housing through redevelopment of slums and other old buildings.
Looking to open up 2,177 hectare of salt pans in Mumbai, the state government has asked the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) to prepare a detailed plan on how it can be used for low-cost housing.
Incidentally, the city’s draft development plan for up to 2034, prepared by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has also proposed to open up 260 hectares of salt pan lands for exploitation. Although the Shiv Sena has a majority control over the BMC, it has consistently opposed any attempt to open up no-development zones, green zones or salt pan lands for development.