The Mumbai Congress today sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi's intervention to withdraw the decision of the Maharashtra government to open salt pans and no development zones in Mumbai for affordable housing.
In a letter to Modi, Mumbai Congress president Sanjay Nirupam urged him to intervene in the decision, which is part of just-released Mumbai's Development Plan (DP) 2034, taken by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
There was an urgent need for the prime minister to address the issue and instruct Fadnavis to stop the new Development Plan which would allow builders in Mumbai to have a field day, he said.
"Mumbai city cannot afford to have these tracts of land, which are last remaining open spaces, fall prey to the builder lobby," the former Member of Parliament said.
Nirupam said the DP, in its present form, will disturb the ecological balance of the financial capital.
"Fadnavis has been deliberately trying to defile the ecological balance of Mumbai. And it is extremely unfortunate to watch this happen even after the World Health Organisation (WHO) has listed Mumbai as the fourth most polluted metropolitan city in the world."
The Congress leader accused Fadnavis of being "pro- builder".
"The chief minister claims unlocking salt pans will pave the way for affordable housing. However, looking at the proximity of salt pan lands to Mumbai, it is bound to be unaffordable for most of the people. Then why is the CM fooling Mumbaikars?" he said.
Maintaining that the CMs decision will cause a great loss to the Mumbaikars, Nirupam added, "26th July 2005 marks a black day in the history of Mumbai city as more than 500 people lost their lives that day in devastating floods."
According to the DP 2034 for Mumbai, 300 hectares of salt pan lands, which serve as natural buffers during heavy rains and high tides, will be utilised for affordable housing. This will destroy the regions bio-diversity and increase the chances of similar deluge in future, Nirupam said.
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