The overall stretch of salt pan land, which would be opened for affordable housing, is unlikely to exceed 435 hectares out of the total 2,177 hectares across Mumbai and its extended suburbs. The state government has urged the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) to prepare a master plan of the entire salt pan to map areas under coastal regulation zone, mangroves, private and government land.
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“Preliminary reports indicate that only 20 per cent of the total salt pan land will be available for housing,” said Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, adding, there is a part which comes under CRZ-2, mangroves, private and government, and facing legal disputes.
While stating that the government is not going to allow any development on the stretch, which would be detrimental to environment, Fadnavis said, “At the moment, we have only ordered the master plan. It is to find out the exact mapping of the land stretch which comes under CRZ (2), mangroves, land encroached, land under legal disputes, private and government holdings.”
The government is keen on taking the housing for all project ahead in the surplus land available. The housing for all is a scheme launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In the first phase, the state government has set the target to build 1.50 lakh affordable houses.
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In Mumbai, where land is a problem, the state government has also urged the centre to unlock land under their holding under railways, defense and Bombay Port Trust. The state government, keen on a Mumbai makeover, reckons that a slum-free city cannot be realised without providing a housing alternative to people. The BJP-led government at the centre and the state revived the idea of salt pan development for housing in 2015. The project has the support of Modi.
“Under the Prime Minister Awas Yojna, we have set a target to provide 11 lakh affordable houses by year 2020,” the chief minister said and indicated that salt pan land is just a small stretch for the housing project. During the Make in India Week in Mumbai, the state MCHI-CREDAI, along with private groups had assured the government to develop 5.96 lakh affordable houses.