BMC defends opening up NDZ land, says it’s for cheap homes
MUMBAI: The civic body was in damage-control mode on Friday, as it defended its plan to open up ecologically sensitive lands earlier marked as no development zones.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said it was only opening up 15% of erstwhile NDZ plots and 11% of the 2,177 hectares of saltpan lands, and said most of this will be used to create more space to build affordable homes in Mumbai. It said 75% NDZ lands were being marked ‘Natural Areas’, which would ensure it won’t be open for development.
Already facing opposition from activists, the BMC has been on the backfoot especially after the ruling Shiv Sena — eager to avoid flak from citizens ahead of next year’s polls — told the administration it will not support such a plan. Sources said it was imperative now for civic chief Ajoy Mehta to clarify that the amount of land that will be opened up was actually limited. Mehta and his team on Friday said the city’s need for cheaper homes could only be met by opening up these lands.
“Currently, all of the city’s population lives on just 22% of Mumbai’s land. By asking private landowners to build cheap homes for us on NDZs, we are cutting out the cost of land completely,” he said.
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