The wait for a master plan for development of the salt pan lands in Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) will not end anytime soon. The reason being, the MMRDA, who was to develop these lands back in 2004, had floated a tender in July this year for the appointment of a consultant for the master plan. The July deadline was extended to August, which has also been further extended to September 6.
The MMRDA says that the appointment of a consultant will be for the preparation of the master plan but in the past when the MMRDA had invited bids for similar tenders, the process was stalled due to litigation and disagreements over the land-sharing formula between the state and the Centre.
For instance, the proposed car shed for Mumbai’s only underground Metro Line 3 (Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ) at the Kanjurmarg salt pan land is stuck due to the Centre’s objection. The MMRDA had surveyed and studied the salt pans to check the feasibility of building affordable housing projects. The report was submitted to the Fadnavis government. However, no decision was taken at that time.
In Mumbai, salt pan lands are located in at Wadala, Turbhe, Kanjurmarg, Bhandup, Nahur, Mulund, and on the stretch from Malvani in Malad to Dahisar. The extended suburbs such as Mira-Bhayandar and Virar also have salt pan lands.
The state government is itself keen on unlocking these plots. Provisions for the same were also made in the Development Plan 2034. The DP had reportedly earmarked 321 acres (130 hectares) of salt pan lands to be used for affordable housing. However, until the controversy between state and Centre is not settled the development cannot take place, a senior official from the Mantralya said.