Going back to the salt pans of Mumbai

  1. The Asiatic Society of Mumbai had recently organised a Salt pan walk at Wadala, Mumbai.
  2. Salt pans are naturally forming expanses of ground which are covered with salt and other minerals. Such land is formed where the large water bodies have dried up over thousands of year, leaving behind salt and other minerals as remnants. In Mumbai, the salt pans are spread across Ghatkopar, Wadala, Chembur, Bhandup, Trombay, Virar and Bhayandar.
  3. According to the revision of Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2017, salt-pan land is no more defined as wetland. However, Salt pans remain protected under the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) rules.
  4. The exclusion of salt pans from Wetland Rules has raised concerns as it would allow construction and development on salt pan land. This poses significant ecological threat as many birds and insects thrive on them. Further, the move pose cultural threat to the communities that work on salt pans.
  5. The Salt pans in Mumbai was also one of the major centres of Salt Satyagraha (Dandi March/ Dandi Satyagraha), 1930 which led to the mass Civil Disobedience Movement. The non-violent Dandi March was led by Mahatma Gandhi.
  6. To protest against the high salt taxes, Gandhi marched from Sabarmati near Ahmedabad to Dandi, a coastal village in Gujarat where he broke the salt law. The India Salt Act of 1882 allowed the British government to have a monopoly on the collection and manufacture of salt and also allowed to tax it.