Delays in mapping risk 5,300 acres of Mumbai’s saltpans
Environmentalists are crying foul over the state government’s delay in publishing the city’s coastline maps. They claim this is a conspiracy to exploit salt pan and other coastal lands for real estate development. Last week, the union government’s ministry of environment and forests tweaked the norms and excluded salt pan lands from wetlands, opening the door for the development of 5,300 acres of salt pan land along the city’s coastline.
However, merely changing classifications is not enough to unlock the land for development; it also needs to be excluded from Coastal Regulatory Zone I (CRZ-I). And the draft plans of the city’s coastline published by the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) classify these salt pans as CRZ-I.
However environmentalists claim the state government is deliberately delaying the finalising the city’s coastal maps to take advantage of ambiguity in the rules and open salt pan land for real estate development.