The Salt in our stars


By Ateeq Shaikh

Growing residential, business buildings on salt pan lands will land Mumbai in additional floody nuisance

Torrential rainfall within the final one week has solely underlined the growing want for open areas or wetlands the place the rain waters would stream in to keep away from flooding on Mumbai’s roads, declare environmentalists whereas opposing the Mumbai Metropolitan Area Growth Authority’s (MMRDA) plan to provide you with residences and business areas on salt pan lands in and round Mumbai.

Earlier final week, the MMRDA had floated a young to nominate a guide for getting ready the grasp plan of salt pan lands in Mumbai and the Mumbai Metropolitan Area (MMR).

Citing the extreme rainfall within the final fortnight and earlier years whereby a large-scale inundation was witnessed inside Mumbai, Karjat, Titwala, Badlapur and different locations, environmentalists are of the view that that salt pan lands ought to be left untouched.

“You can not take away the salt pans; they’re the inlet and outlet for the seas to stability nature and keep away from flooding. They complement the drainage system to channelise floodwaters. These salt pans are additionally wetlands,” stated Stalin Dayanand from Vanashakti, an environmental NGO.

In June 2004, the state authorities had appointed MMRDA as implementing company to develop salt pan lands. For the reason that expired leases to reap salt weren’t renewed and a examine was carried out to evaluate the event potential of those wetlands.

You can not take away the salt pans; they’re the inlet and outlet for the seas to stability nature and keep away from flooding. They complement the drainage system to channelise floodwaters. These salt pans are additionally wetlands

— Stalin Dayanand, Vanashakti NGO

The salt pans which can be being checked out are in Mulund, Bhandup, Nahur, Kanjurmarg, Wadala, Vashi, Mira-Bhayander, Vasai, Naigaon, Nallasopara, and Virar, amongst different locations. The survey carried out in 2016 concluded that solely 25 acres of the 5,379 acres could be developed, which is a meagre 0.5 per cent. Later, the Union Ministry of Surroundings and Forest excluded salt pans from being categorised as wetlands to unlock their improvement potential for the builder group.

“When Prakash Javadekar was the surroundings minister, he ensured to declassify them from the wetlands record regardless of they being the pure buffers throughout heavy rains that assist in stopping floods” added Stalin.

After the current heavy spell of rains, the inexperienced brigade had identified how landfilling on the controversial Aarey Milk Colony for a metro automotive shed resulted in inundation of surrounding areas.

The MMRDA is initiating the steps in direction of improvement contradicting its personal 2016-36 regional plan report that states that these tracts of lands at not solely necessary from a livelihood, financial and salt manufacturing perspective, but in addition are critically necessary from the perspective of flood safety as they’re shallow depressed areas holding seawater. “The salt pans right this moment face a severe menace from the development foyer of the area resulting in a light decline within the general space and manufacturing” reads the identical because the regional plan, accessed by Mumbai Mirror.

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“There’s an unsold stock of round 2 lakh properties within the MMR and plenty of plots can be found for improvement, nonetheless, they’re going for these wetlands,” stated Stalin. As per a current actual property report, the MMR has a listing overhand of 43 months. In different phrases, it can take 43 months or three years and 7 months for the present unsold housing inventory obtainable to get picked up by homebuyers.

Rishi Aggarwal, an environmentalist who a decade in the past efficiently fought the establishing of a golf course, clubhouses and residential buildings on the wetlands adjoining to Lokhandwala, Andheri, stated, “The very thought to save lots of the mangrove and wetlands at Andheri was to make sure they act as a sponge for us and absorbing the floodwaters aside from recharging groundwater ranges. These mangrove wetlands act as a buffer between the land and sea to assist stop floods.”



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