Shirdi gets international airport

Shirdi gets international airport
The Shirdi International Airport in the famous temple-town was inaugurated by President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday.

The President also flagged off the inaugural flight from Shirdi to Mumbai.

Kovind was accompanied by Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathy Raju, Maharashtra Governor CH Vidyasagar Rao, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil during the visit to Shirdi in Ahmednagar district.

Speaking on the occasion, President said that in our country, Sai Baba attracts people from every caste, religion, sect and class. Using simple phrases such as ‘Sabka Malik Ek Hai’, Sai Baba explained the philosophy of 'Advaita' to the common man. The influence of Sai Baba can be seen all over the world.

 “Along with ‘spiritual connectivity’, the country also needed ‘physical connectivity’ through large infrastructure projects. He commended the building of the airport as a measure that would help pilgrims and visitors as well as trigger economic activity and job creation in Shirdi,” he said and hoped that people in large numbers would use the Shirdi International Airport.

The year 2018 marks the 100 anniversary of the samadhi of Shri Sai Baba, one of the most revered saints of the globe. Shri Sai Baba left for heavenly abode on the auspicious day of Vijay  Dashami, 15 October, 1918.

The Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust of Shirdi is celebrating the centenary year of Shri Sai Baba of Shirdi from 1 October this year to October 18, 2018.

The inauguration of the international airport is in a way part of the celebrations.

Travel time between Mumbai and Shirdi is expected to be cut to 45 minutes. Currently, it takes approximately nine hours by train and ten hours by road for a distance of about 240 kilometers. The runway at the airport is reportedly long enough to allow for Airbus A-320 and Boeing 737 aircrafts.

The Shirdi airport, spread over 400 hectares, is located at Kakdi village about 15 km south-west of Shirdi. The airport has been built by the Maharashtra Airport Development Company (MADC).

The Ahmednagar district, around 250 kms away from Mumbai. The pilgrims access Shirdi via road, Sainagar Shirdi Railway Station and the Aurangabad Airport located 125 km from Shirdi.

The airport project is part of the Maharashtra Government's effort to promote religious tourism at Shirdi, known for the temple of Sai Baba. Around 80,000 devotees visit the temple town daily and the numbers go up to 5 lakh per day during weekends, vacations and festivals.

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