Mumbai: 17 yrs on, MMRDA fails to develop salt pan land

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) is looking out for a consultant to prepare the master plan of salt pan land in Mumbai and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR). MMRDA Commissioner SVR Srinivas has called for the tender. Interested agencies/consultants can submit their bids by August 23. The contract period of the said work is for eight months.

Interestingly, in 2004, the MMRDA was given the additional charge to implement the development of the city’s salt pan land. However, even after 17 years, the agency has hardly conceptualised anything definite on these land parcels. A few years ago, the agency had surveyed and studied the salt pans to check the feasibility of building affordable housing projects. A study was reportedly submitted to the then BJP-Shiv Sena-led state government. In the report, it was concluded that only a 25-acre plot was fit to be developed out of the total of 5,300 acres.

The objective of developing salt pans for housing projects, besides other development projects, has not inched further owing to contentious issues such as the land-sharing formula between the Centre and the state and resulting ongoing litigation. For instance, Mumbai’s only underground Metro Line 3 (Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ) proposed car shed at Kanjurmarg salt pan land is also stuck due to the Centre’s objection.

In Mumbai, salt pans are largely located in central Mumbai at Wadala, in eastern suburbs at Turbhe, Kanjurmarg, Bhandup, Nahur and Mulund and in the western suburbs of Malvani and Dahisar. The extended suburbs, such as Mira-Bhayandar and Virar in Palghar district, also have salt pans.

Moreover, the state government is itself keen on unlocking these plots. Provisions for the same were also made in the DP (development plan) 2034. The DP had reportedly earmarked 321 acres (130 hectares) of salt pans to be used for affordable housing.

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