The Asiatic Society of Mumbai had recently
organised a Salt pan walk at Wadala, Mumbai.
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.
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.
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
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
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