The CRZ 1 area is the ecological sensitive area that lies between High tide line and Low tide line.
Mumbai: As the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) is set to begin surveying of salt pan lands for affordable housing, environmentalists have raised concerns over infrastructural development in the salt pan areas as it will increase erosion in the city’s coastal lands. They stated that open spaces like salt pans need to be retained, as it will alleviate flood situations in Mumbai
“The MMRDA cannot build on the salt pan lands as it still remains under Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) 1. In the 2017 wetlands notification, they have stated that CRZ areas are not covered by this notification. As per the CRZ notification, salt pans are in CRZ 1 category,” said Debi Goenka, a city based environmentalist.
The CRZ 1 area is the ecological sensitive area that lies between High tide line and Low tide line. No new constructions are permitted in the area except for the projects of national importance like project related to Atomic Energy department, extraction of natural gas among others. However officials from the state government have maintained that allowing development in salt pans would give a boost to the housing schemes.
Activists have also highlighted that as the salt pan lands are inter-tidal areas and the open space helps in preventing flood situation in the city. “The salt pan lands are the natural buffers during incessant rainfall. So if the area is concretised, it will only prevent the draining of flood-water. As CRZ areas, we need to keep them in their natural form,” said Godfrey Pimenta, Trustee of Watchdog Foundation.