By Accommodation Times Bureau The state government’s delay in publishing the city’s coastline maps are condemning by the environmentalists as a foul play. They claim this is a sheer conspiracy to arrogate salt pan and other coastal lands for real estate development. Last week, the union government’s ministry of environment and forests pinched the norms and got the salt pan lands excluded from the wetlands. It opened the door for the development of 5,300 acres of salt pan land along the city’s coastline. However, merely changing classifications is not enough to unlock the land for development; it also needs to be excluded from Coastal Regulatory Zone I (CRZ- I). And the draft plans of the city’s coastline published by the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) classify these salt pans as CRZ-I. However according to the environmentalists, the state government is deliberately delaying the finalization of the city’s coastal maps to take advantage of ambiguity in the rules and open salt pan land for real estate development. D Stalin, Project Director of the NGO Vanshakti, which works in the field of environmental protection, said, What gives credence to our suspicion is that several speeches of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis are available in which he has advocated excluding Mumbai from CRZ regulations." However, Environment Secretary Satish Gavai jested at the environmentalist’s allege and said: How can I open land for development which doesn’t belong to me? Salt pan land belongs to the Centre, and the state is pressing it to share them in a 50:50 ratio. Environmentalists are aware that the exclusion of salt pan land from wetlands was also proposed in 2010. While CRZ-I covers ecologically sensitive areas falling within 100 m of the high-tide line where no development is allowed, CRZ-III covers areas within 500 m of the high-tide line, which are also largely considered no-development zones. CRZ-II, however, covers areas that fall within 500 m of the high-tide line, but which are already developed – for instance, Marine Drive, or Carter Road, Bandra.