On Thursday (June 24), a large group of ‘farmer protestors’ took out a demonstration in the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) over the naming of the newly constructed Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA). The development comes at a time when the Covid-19 task force in Maharashtra had warned of an upcoming third wave in the following 2-3 weeks’ time.
As per reports, the protestors had threatened to stall the construction of the project if the airport is not named after late socialist leader DB Patil. He is said to have fought for the rights of farmers in Thane and Palghar to ensure fair compensation by CIDCO. The farmers, under the banner of Navi Mumbai International Airport Namakaran Kruti Samiti, hit the streets to protest the naming of the airport after Shiv Sena leader Balashaeb Thackeray. The project will be operated by M/s Adani Airport Holdings Ltd (AAHL) and the construction work is set to commence from August 16.
A decision to rename the upcoming airport in Navi Mumbai after Balasaheb Thackeray was taken on June 10 by the Maharashtra government. After farmer protestors had expressed their unhappiness over the decision, a meeting was called by CM Udhhav Thackeray with the farmer representatives. However, the meeting failed to reach an agreement and the protestors threatened to gherao the CIDCO Bhavan in the Central Business District of Belapur on Tuesday (June 22).
तीसरी वेव की आहट के बीच हज़ारों की ये भीड़ नवी मुंबई में कोरोना नियमों की धज्जियाँ उड़ाते हुए इकठ्ठा हुई ये बताने कि यहाँ बनने वाले हवाई अड्डे का नामकरण किसान नेता डी बी पाटिल के नाम पर किया जाए नहीं तो वो निर्माण कार्य रोक देंगे pic.twitter.com/NIT42wU6nO— Samir Abbas (@TheSamirAbbas) June 25, 2021
As a precautionary measure, the state government deployed more than 500 officers, 5000 police personnel, and Reserve Police Force (RPF) teams en route to the CIDCO headquarters. The cops had to divert the traffic on arterial roads, keeping in mind the large-scale protest. According to the demonstrators, about 1 lac people had gathered for the cause. The movement is reportedly backed by local leaders, ex-MPs and ex-MLAs. However, the police managed to stop the crowd about 1 km away from the CIDCO headquarters.
Shiv Sena leader assures naming another project after DB Patil
Meanwhile, a delegation of farmer protestors had also met the Managing Director (MD) of CIDCO and submitted a memorandum demanding the changing of the Navi Mumbai Internation airport after DB Patil. While speaking about the demonstrations, Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde assured the farmers of naming another project after the socialist leader. He added, “We have a lot of respect for DB Patil. The chief minister has requested the action committee to recommend any other project (to be named after Patil). One meeting has taken place (with the committee) and one more will take place. A positive outcome is expected”
Navi Mumbai International Airport expected to be operational between 2023-2024
The Navi Mumbai International airport was expected to be operational before the 2019 Vidhan Sabha polls. However, the project could not be completed and missed several deadlines. It is now expected to be operational in 2023-2024. The airport, which is being built over 1160 hectares, was initially being constructed by M/s GVK Airport Developers Developers Limited and was later handed over to M/s Adani Airport Holdings Ltd (AAHL).
The decision was approved by the Airports Authority of India, Directorate of Civil Aviation, SEBI, CCI and CIDCO. It must be mentioned that Gautam Adani-run-AAHL has been operating several airports in the country including Mumbai, Navi Mumbai (under construction), Ahmedabad, Lucknow, and Bengaluru.
Third wave of Coronavirus in Maharashtra
In a bid to combat the impending third wave of Chinese coronavirus the Union Health Ministry on June 22 issued advisory to Maharashtra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh on the new Delta Plus variant of the virus. The variant is currently a Variant of Concern (VOC). Union Health Secretary had communicated to these three states that the new variant had been found in genome sequenced samples from Ratnagiri and Jalgaon Districts of Maharashtra; Palakkad and Pathanamthitta Districts of Kerala; and Bhopal and Shivpuri Districts of Madhya Pradesh.
This was based on the recent findings of INSACOG, a consortium of 28 laboratories of Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Dept. of Biotechnology, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). The covid-19 task force in Maharashtra had warned that the third wave could hit the state within 2-3 weeks.