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  • Haresh Parshuram Yetal

Massive protest was held in Navi Mumbai over airport naming controversy on June 24

A massive protest was held in the city of Navi Mumbai on June 24 over the issue of renaming the new upcoming international airport. The agitation was called by the All Party Action Committee, (APAC) along with local workers of BJP and AAP. Thousands of people from Raigad, Thane and Palghar districts had participated in this protest. Furthermore, Navi Mumbai traffic police had made elaborate traffic and security arrangements to avoid any untoward incident during the demonstration.

The locals of Navi Mumbai and surrounding areas demand that the upcoming airport should be named after the late farmers’ leader D B Patil. Whereas, the authorities of the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) has proposed to name the airport after late Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray. To oppose the decision of CIDCO, thousands of protesters marched to the CIDCO Bhavan at CBD Belapur to encircle the premises. However, the protest march was stopped by police a kilometre away from the building on a heavily-barricaded road.

After being stopped before reaching the CIDCO Bhavan, a delegation of protesters went to meet managing director of CIDCO and submitted their written demand to name the airport after D B Patil. The protesters further threatened that the ongoing construction work of the airport will be stalled if government do not announce the airport’s new name by August 15.

The Navi Mumbai Police had made adequate security arrangements in view of this agitation. More than 5,000 police personnel, 500 officers and Reserve Police Force units were deployed on roads leading to the CIDCO office. Similarly, vehicular traffic on various arterial roads, including the Palm Beach Road, was diverted in the wake of the agitation.

Meanwhile, the members of NGO NatConnect Foundation and few more likeminded citizens have written a letter to NMMC police and Raigad district collector and appealed for a special rapid screening of the people who attended the protest march.

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