Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday said there was no shortage of salt in any district of Maharashtra. He also directed district collectors to strictly monitor the situation and take action against anybody found hoarding salt or spreading rumours.
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Fadnavis, in a statement said, “The situation in the entire state is normal and there is no shortage of salt in any of the districts.”
All district collectors have been told to take strict action against those triggering panic by rumour-mongering or against those hoarding salt stock to create artificial shortage.
A senior officer, on condition of anonymity, said, “Rumours of salt shortage could be the handiwork of some quarters trying to withhold the salt pan land whose lease expired last mont”.”
The centre-state has declared it was not averse to opening up salt pan land for development of low cost housing.
The salt pan land stretches 5,500 acres across Mumbai island city and its suburbs. In October, 1800 acres of salt pan land which was given to individuals on long lease expired paving the way for the centre and state to reclaim the same.
Sources in the government disclosed, “Successive attempts in the past to open up salt pan land for development met with stiff resistance, as a result housing development could never move forward.”
Last month, at a meeting, MMRDA was given the task to prepare a master plan on salt pan land to ascertain the exact area under coastal regulation zone, mangroves, private holding and illegal encroachment by slum dwellers.
According to a district officer, “On the ground, there is nothing to suggest salt shortage. But we gather it could have emerged from some quarters trying to create artificial shortage to make people panic. And also to substantiate the claim for salt making on the stretches given on lease several decades ago. But our reports show salt making had come to a grinding hal.”
Officially, the government reckons that only 20 per cent of the salt pan land would be immediately available for development.