MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Wednesday sought a reply from the Maharashtra government and the Centre within two weeks to a petition that pointed out to a lack of affordable housing schemes in the city.
An NGO, Consumer Online Foundation, filed a public interest litigation to demand a comprehensive programme for affordable housing in Mumbai. A bench headed by Chief Justice Mohit Shah heard the matter briefly and asked both the governments to submit their replies.
The PIL claimed that surplus land available with the Centre, the ministries of commerce and industry, railways and defence, Bombay Port Trust, Airports Authority of India, salt commissioner and railway land development authority ought to be made available for housing schemes. The 2001 census had pegged the homeless figure in Mumbai at a staggering 7.78 lakh.
The PIL urged that the state and the Centre should not be allowed to dispose of salt pan lands for any purpose other than affordable housing in the interim while the PIL is pending.
The PIL said about 200 hectares of unused salt pan land could also be utilized for this purpose.
The PIL also suggested that the port trust, which has 20,000 acres of land in the city, can part with its surplus land. The Town and Country Planning Organization said that over one lakh hectares of additional land will be required for low-cost housing.