Political mudslinging over the shifting of the proposed Pune International Airport from Khed continues with the Shiv Sena and NCP leaders trading charges against each other.
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On Thursday, Shiv Sena MP from Khed Shivajirao Adhalrao Patil refuted charges of former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar’s charges that the MP’s opposition had resulted in Khed losing the airport.
Earlier last month, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had announced that the proposed Pune International Airport was supposed to come up at Purandhar taluka. This has signalled the end to all speculations about the airport being located in Khed running high since the last 10 years. Post the announcement, much political linen was washed in public. Other than Pawar, Patil’s party colleague and minister Vijay Shivtare had also taken potshots at him and said the decision to oppose the airport was the biggest mistake in his political career.
Calling such allegations as unwarranted speculations, hearsay and falsehood, Patil denied any role in the shifting of the airport. “Instead of understanding the real issues and knowing facts from official sources, my political detractors chose to take the convenient route of blaming me and unfairly targeting the farmer community of this region,” he said.
Patil said he had carried out extensive communications with the Airport Authority of India and the Maharashtra Airport Development Corporation to understand the reasons for the shift. “The response received from the AAI clearly stated that all proposed sites in Khed taluka were rejected on grounds of technical feasibility, area falling under hilly terrain, shortage of adequate land and non-availability of east-west orientation for runway,” he said.
Patil said there was no other resistance neither from the farmers nor from him. He said Khed has seen numerous land acquisitions and the Chakan region has seen many international automobile companies setting up their units. Site identification for the airport, Patil said, was going on since 2005 but both the state and Centre had failed to come up with any concrete roadmap for it.
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