June 24, 2021 11:53:52 pm
Thousands from Thane and Raigad districts, mobilised by local groups seeking for Navi Mumbai airport to be named after late socialist leader D B Patil, staged a massive protest rally against City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) on Thursday. The rally brought vehicular traffic in parts of Navi Mumbai to a standstill, even as police shut down certain stretches of roads in anticipation of a large turnout.
Protesters gave a deadline of August 15 to the state government to announce the airport’s new name, threatening to stop ongoing construction work of the airport if their demands were not met.
Protesters started gathering at 8 am, planning to gherao CIDCO Bhavan at CBD Belapur, but police stopped them a kilometre away from the building. A delegation then submitted a letter to CIDCO requesting it to scrap the proposal of naming the airport after Balasaheb Thackeray and consider a new reworked proposal for the same.
The proposal to name the airport after the late Shiv Sena supremo was earlier sanctioned at a board meeting of the planning agency. In December, state urban development minister Eknath Shinde had written to CIDCO asking it to send a proposal of naming the airport after Bal Thackeray. Earlier on June 10, the state government had also announced that the airport will be named after Bal Thackeray.
“We have requested them to dissolve the old resolution passed in their board meeting and send another proposal of naming the airport after DB Patil,” said Dashrath Patil, president of Navi Mumbai Airport All Party Action Committee.
“It was DB Patil’s death anniversary and, hence, we decided to carry out a protest on June 24. Now we are giving time to the government but till August 15; if the government does not name the airport after DB Patil then we will not allow any work to take place at the airport site,” said Prashant Thakur, BJP MLA from Panvel.
Politicians from various parties, including NCP’s Nawab Malik and MNS leader Raju Patil, also visited the rally and met protesters. The gathering dispersed around 4 pm after being assured their demands would be looked into.
Purushottam Karad, the deputy commissioner of Police(DCP) traffic said,”the traffic was resumed at around 5pm after the protesters started dispersing,”
Deputy commissioner of police (Zone 2) Shivraj Patil said a process of registering FIRs against leaders and participants of the protest had begun at the NRI police station.
Since all roads were closed to vehicular traffic in Navi Mumbai on Thursday, several protesters, including senior citizens, walked a considerable distance to reach the protest site. Navi Mumbai traffic police announced traffic diversions and also re-routed vehicles coming in as well as going towards Pune.
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