Row over salt pan land use could delay project
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A key road infrastructure project in the city, the Eastern Freeway, could be delayed owing to a dispute between the central government and the state development agency implementing the project over using a portion of salt pan land.
The commissioner in charge of salt pan lands recently wrote to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) asking the latter to pay a lease amount at six per cent of the ready reckoner rate for erecting a few piers on salt pan land at Wadala.
"They want us to pay an annual lease amount of nearly Rs 6 crore a year. I don't understand why we should pay money because it is anyway government land and this is a public project," said Metropolitan Commissioner Rahul Asthana. "We will refer the case to the state government," he added.
The 9.3 km elevated Eastern Freeway starts on the P D'Mello Road and connects south Mumbai to the eastern suburbs. The MMRDA expects the toll-free road till Panjarpol to be ready by December, while the construction of Panjarpol-Ghatkopar Link Road will take three-four months. The project was originally expected to be completed by April 2010.
Meanwhile, the MMRDA also needs to get a separate forest clearance for a recent decision to slightly alter the design of the flyover. "In the initial design, the elevated road was going to descend on the salt pan land, but we decided to extend it further. We are told we need a forest clearance for extending the elevated road," Asthana said. However, he said it would not delay the project.
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