Mumbai development plan: Shiv Sena against opening of salt pans for housing

Mumbai: Shiv Sena ministers today opposed at the Maharashtra cabinet meeting the state government’s decision to open salt pans in Mumbai for affordable housing, according to a party source.

The decision on the salt pan land is a part of the just-released Mumbai’s Development Plan (DP) 2034.

Environment minister Ramdas Kadam (of Shiv Sena) raised the issue of opening the salt pans for development in the cabinet meeting held here and the other Sena ministers also voiced their concern over it, the source told PTI.

“The Sena ministers strongly voiced their opposition and conveyed to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis that under no circumstances will their party allow the salt pans to be used for construction purposes,” the source said.

Kadam told Fadnavis that the poor were being used as a “shield” to unduly favour builders, said the source who claimed to be privy to the discussions at the meeting.

“The opening of salt pans (for the housing sector) will further put stress on the ecology of Mumbai, which is already facing problems of excessive population, traffic and climate change,” the source said.

Last week, Mumbai Congress president Sanjay Nirupam had also said that the city cannot afford to have salt pans and no-development zones, which are the last remaining open spaces in the city, fall prey to the builder lobby.

In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Nirupam had urged him to intervene in the Fadnavis government’s decision on the issue.

According to the DP 2034 for Mumbai, 300 hectares of salt pan lands, which serve as natural buffers during heavy rains and high tides, will be utilised for affordable housing. This will destroy the regions bio-diversity and increase the chances of a similar deluge in future, Nirupam had said.

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