State asks Centre to free up 600 acres of salt pan land for houses | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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State asks Centre to free up 600 acres of salt pan land for houses

In an attempt to build more affordable houses in Mumbai, the state government has asked the Centre to release 600 hectares of land, currently being used as salt pans, within the city limits.

mumbai Updated: Dec 01, 2014 22:28 IST
HT Correspondent

In an attempt to build more affordable houses in Mumbai, the state government has asked the Centre to release 600 hectares of land, currently being used as salt pans, within the city limits.

Officials of the state government will soon hold meetings with the central Commerce and urban development officials to discuss the issue.

According to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, the state wants the central government to implement the recommendations of the report by an Empowered Group of Ministers, set up to study salt lands in 2007.

The report speaks of releasing a significant amount of salt pan land for rehabilitating those affected by various infrastructure projects.

“We can utilise the land for rehabilitating slum dwellers and also create a good stock of affordable houses for Mumbaiites,” said Fadnavis.

The salt pan lands are located in areas such as Chembur, Vikhroli, Wadala, Mulund, Bhandup, Nahur and Ghatkopar. For years, the state has been demanding the release of this land, and there have been numerous court cases regarding the ownership of these plots.

According to the state housing department, the salt pan land needs to be used smartly for the city.

“Salt manufacturing is not an efficient way to utilise such precious land, as that activity can be done elsewhere also,” said Debashish Chakrobarty, housing secretary. “We can utilise this land to rehabilitate those living in slums and also create affordable houses,” said Chakrobarty.

However, environmentalists said the move is disastrous and will only benefit the builders’ lobby. “The city cannot afford to have another construction spree. Where is the infrastructure to support such a huge number of new houses?” said Debi Goenka, a noted environmentalist.