Hoping to bring relief to five lakh homeowners living on 'illegal' forest land, the state government is planning to submit an affidavit to the Supreme Court for permission to de-reserve the land.
"We are seeking permission from the Supreme Court to allow regularisation of the forest land as per the recommendations of the Central Empowered Committee," Conservator of Forest A.R. Salunkhe said.
Hearing on the Forest Land issue was held in the Supreme Court on Tuesday. The state government, in its application to the Supreme Court, has asked that the land deemed 'forest land' be now declared as 'outside Forest Area'.
The government has also sought permission to legalise the construction permission given to buildings constructed on the controversial stretch. The application is likely to be submitted to the Supreme Court in the next two days. Lakhs of houses in Thane, Mulund, Borivli and Kandivli were under threat of demolition after the Bombay High Court, in March 2008, deemed their flats illegal for being built on forest land.
Residents affected by the order moved the Supreme Court, which asked the Central Empowered Committee to give its recommendations on the issue. The committee had submitted its recommendations to the SC in June that year asking for regularisation of land after paying a nominal afforestation fee of between Rs 6 and Rs 600 per sq ft depending on when the flat was built.
The fees were to be paid before January 25. The state was also supposed to carry out afforestation on a stretch of land equal to the land that would be regularised.