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NEW GOVT LIKELY TO RELEASE SALT PANS

salt-pan-3The release of 5,500 acres salt-pan land for “development” is expected to top the agenda of the new government, irrespective of which coalition comes to power. In fact, for several months before the October 13 assembly election, hectic lobbying was on in Mumbai and New Delhi to open up the vast tracts of salt-pan land in the suburbs. But the move was put on hold by the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre when MP Milind Deora and other prominent citizens raised an alarm over the move. The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry too had favoured the exploitation of these lands for real estate purposes, but some of its prominent members vehemently opposed the move. With a fresh mandate and the next polls five years away, the new government is expected to open up salt pans. Deora took up the matter at the highest level of the Congress and warned that the party would unwittingly become a party to the disaster which would befall Mumbai if the proposal was pushed through. Deora, citing the opinion of environmentalists, said Mumbai would witness heavy flooding if the salt pans, which now function like balancing chambers, are developed.

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