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Maharashtra govt examining feasibility of proposal to develop affordable housing on salt pan land

A five-member committee will evaluate the feasibility of the proposal submitted by a real estate developer within 60 days.

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The Maharashtra government has taken the first step towards developing affordable housing on a salt pan land and plans to review a proposal submitted by a real estate developer within 60 days, a notification by the Revenue and Forests Department has said.

The salt pan land selected is located in Kanjurmarg-Bhandup, adjoining the Eastern Express Highway.

Salt pan lands are those where large water bodies have dried up over years, leaving behind salt and other minerals


A five-member committee headed by the additional chief secretary, finance, will examine the proposal submitted by the developer Shapoorji Pallonji to construct affordable homes on the land within 60 days.

It will also examine whether the said land would be offered to the developer on a lease model or the premium model, the notification said.

The said developer did not comment on the proposal or the notification.

Under Mumbai's new Development Plan, over 3,000 hectares of land would be available for building affordable houses after unlocking the no-development zone (NDZ) land. Apart from this land, an additional 300 hectares of salt pan land will also be available for affordable housing. About 10 lakh affordable houses will be built on these lands by 2034.

"In a space-starved metropolis, salt pan lands and NDZ lands are the only options for furthering the scope of housing development. After statements to the effect that a city with paucity of land could change use of salt pan land and use it for affordable housing, the first such step is being taken. A Committee has been set up to evaluate the situation, which is a welcome move. The Committee will evaluate the scope of development in tandem with ecological balance," Niranjan Hiranandani, president, Naredco told Moneycontrol.

Opening of viable salt pan land within the city limits is essential for development of affordable housing, due to paucity of land in Mumbai. It also needs to be kept in mind that not all salt pan lands are environmentally hazardous as regards usage for housing. Opening up of such land parcels for affordable housing will further help in avoiding slum proliferation, he said.

In 2017, the government of Maharashtra (GoM) had decided to use the salt pan lands across Mumbai and its metropolitan region for housing projects, slum rehabilitation and infrastructure development. GoM had appointed Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) as the implementing agency for development of salt pan lands in Mumbai.

Urban experts suggest that large tracts of land located within city limits such as unused parcels held by public sector undertakings, central authorities such as railways and defence, salt pan lands and tea estates have the potential to be repurposed for affordable housing.

Salt pan lands can be used for the purpose, subject to a change in zoning of the land by the state government. This is, of course, subject to norms and regulations (the Development Control (DC) rules and Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) guidelines.

Among those considering hiving off surplus land for affordable housing is railways. "Railways is open to the affordable housing opportunity subject to feasibility and revenue potential," said a senior railway official.

The government has set a target of 1.2 crore housing units by 2022 under the Housing for All mission but the biggest challenge is procuring land.

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First Published on Jun 12, 2019 07:36 pm
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