Plans are on to develop low-cost housing on 2,167 hectares of saltpans in Mumbai that are presently under the control of the salt department, a wing of the central government.
At a recent meeting of a high-powered group of ministers, it was decided that “efforts of various central and state agencies be coordinated and urgent measures evolved for using these lands for rehabilitation of slumdwellers” (Financial Express, May 29, 2008). The land freed from the existing slums would be divided up for private real estate and public infrastructure projects.
One of the ‘urgent measures’ needed to make this possible is a change in the environment protection regulations governing coastal land use -- these regulations, as applied to Mumbai, prohibit development in all but 240 hectares of the saltpan lands in question.
The change is already underway. The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) made public a draft Coastal Management Zone notification in May 2008 that will replace the current coastal regulations with a far more permissive regime allowing changes in coastal land use such as that planned for Mumbai’s saltpans.Read the complete article here