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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

"SHIRDI BANDH" in Protest of Sai Sansthan's Airport Donation

Wednesday 25th August 2010

On Friday, Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and Union Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel will be laying the foundation stone of the Airport in Shirdi. The Airport, expected to be operational by end of 2011, will be equipped for International flights as well.

But the Shirdi Sai Baba Temple Trust’s decision to give Rs.100 crore to the State Government for the Airport has angered the Devotees. The Shirdi Villagers protesting Shirdi Sansthan's donation for the Airport, using the Sansthan's Money, had called for a total "Shirdi Bandh" on Wednesday 25th August 2010. So, on "Wednesday" the streets of Shirdi wore a deserted look.
All Shops, Establishments etc were closed and the Public Transport too was absent, causing a lot of inconvenience for the devotees there.

However, Baba's Samadhi Mandir was kept open and so was the canteen, for the benefit of the devotees.

The Shirdi Gram Villagers are also demanding that a Law should be made to prohibit any Article of Sai Baba to be taken out of Shirdi for any purpose.

They have said that be it any amount they will not allow the Sansthan to use even a Rupee for the Airport project, and if their demands are not met, they will go on a Hunger Strike, come out on the roads to protest and will wave Black Flags on 27th August`2010 during the laying of Shirdi Airport's Foundation Stone.

The Rs.380-crore project needs 400 acre of land, of which 300 acre has been acquired with help of the government aid of around Rs.40 crore while the Shirdi Sai Sansthan had earlier agreed to pay Rs.50 crore, together with other expected donations. but, it is now rumored that the Sansthan will be coughing out Rs.100 crore instead of the Rs.50 crore it had originally offered.

But according to the Maharashtra Govt, the original Rs.50 crore was also voluntarily offered by the Shirdi Sansthan themselves.

According to the devotees, the Airport and other infrastructure in Maharashtra is all the duty of the State Government and so the Shirdi Sansthan should not provide funds for any of those projects, including the Shirdi Airport.

Trustee and state Transport Minister Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, who approves of the Trust’s move, said: “The Trust took a decision Two years ago in the interest of Devotees. The Airport will offer faster connectivity.”

But former MP Shri.Balasaheb Vikhe-Patil said that the Trust should not give the amount
as the Government has paid for the Land that it acquired for the Airport. “Local people and Devotees don’t want this to happen.

We all want the Centre and State Governments to take care of the Airport project,” he said adding that "the Airport would help corporate fliers who frequent the Industrial estates being developed in Ahmednagar & Nashik districts."

Pramod Kadve, a devotee from Mumbai, said Rs 100 crore could be used to extend facilities to the poor & the Farmers.

“An Airport will benefit the Rich. The Trust should not splurge on providing five-star facilities to the Rich.”

Trust chairman Jayant Sasane said that the Trust members will meet to review the situation. “The Radhakrishna Patil will take a Final call.”

The Maharashtra Airport Development Corporation (MADC) is the nodal agency for the Shirdi Airport project.

Source: Hindustan Times

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