The Mumbai High court upheld the Centre’s rights over a huge tract of prime salt-pan land in the central suburbs, between Bhandup and Chembur. The salt-pan plots situated on both sides of the Eastern Express highway which measure around 468 acres, valuing at over Rs 4,000 crore were being targeted by private developers and some had even entered into agreements with those given licenses for such land. However, the ruling of the Mumbai High Court might spell trouble for these developers as the court held that as the land belonged to the government, a licensee could not enter into an agreement with a third party. The land was leased to Fali Bomanji in the 1920s when a petition was filed claiming that Bomanji had signed an agreement with it for development of the plot. Additional solicitor-general R Raghuvanshi argued that the land belonged to the Indian government and Bomanji had flouted the lease conditions by not paying the rent and stopping the manufacture of salt on the plot. Over 5,500 acres of such plots in the city are under the control of salt-pan owners. The Centre has a proposal to rehabilitate project-affected persons as well as slumdwellers on these plots.
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