Release salt pan land in Mumbai: Chavan to Centre

CM Prithviraj Chavan has sought Centre's consent for development of salt pan land to create affordable housing in Mumbai. Chavan, who was in Delhi recently, discussed with the ministries of urban development and planning and finance the challenges before the state in the housing and slum rehabilitation sectors in Mumbai.

A senior secretary in CMO said, "CM asked the Centre to initiate the process of releasing salt pan land, which could help the administration consider affordable housing and rehabilitation of slum colonies on prime land."

Chavan indicated failure of the state to meet the 2012 deadline for many mega projects was because of the disputes related to land acquisition and relocation of slums.

Salt pan land stretches in the city and suburbs are 2,277 hectares. Chavan said, "If salt pan land is released it would go a long way in redevelopment, which would help the administration work out a formula to promote affordable housing and relocate slums illegally existing on prime land that will have to be acquired for projects."

The Centre's thrust on affordable housing inclusive of slums in Mumbai is becoming increasingly difficult to implement. The state has urged the Centre to make available land held by Union ministries such as defence, shipping and ports and railways in Mumbai for slumdwellers.

The failure of the Centre to take decisions regarding salt pan land is attributed to the land-sharing ratio. Housing department officials admitted, "There is no clarity on how much of the 2,277 hectares belongs to the state and the Centre. Attempts to work out a formula have met with resistance from central ministries."

In 2006, when the state government came up with a comprehensive housing policy it suggested that salt pan land be shared equally. The state is working out formulae for development of salt pan land. Chavan cautioned the Centre about encroachment on salt pan land. Nearly 450 of the 2,277 hectares have been encroached on.

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