Thousands stage protest demanding naming of Navi Mumbai airport after activist D B Patil

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Mumbai, Jun 24 (PTI) Thousands of people from local Agri and fishing communities along with some politicians staged a protest against the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) in Navi Mumbai on Thursday to press for their demand to name the upcoming international airport there after late activist D B Patil.

The protesters raised slogans against the CIDCO administration and asked the corporation to cancel its proposal to name the airport after late Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray and instead, name it after D B Patil before August 15.

They threatened to stop the airport construction work if their demand was not met.

While local leaders had earlier given a call to 'gherao' the CIDCO Bhavan at CBD Belapur, the protesters were on Thursday stopped a kilometre away from the building on a heavily-barricaded road.

Considering the large gathering of protesters, the Navi Mumbai police had made adequate security arrangements to prevent any untoward incident, an official said.

More than 5,000 police personnel, 500 officers and Reserve Police Force units were deployed on roads leading to the CIDCO office, he said.

Vehicular traffic on various arterial roads, including the Palm Beach Road, was diverted in the wake of the agitation, the official said.

A delegation of the protesters later went to meet CIDCO's managing director and submit their written demand to name the airport after Patil.

Addressing the protesters, former MP Ramsheth Thakur said the CIDCO should name the airport after D B Patil by August 15, or the construction of the airport will be stopped.

Apart from Thakur, Communist leader Dashrath Patil, Congress leader Hussain Dalwai, politician Sanjeev Naik, former MLA Jagannath Patil and MNS legislator Raju Patil also participated in the protest.

The Maharashtra government and the CIDCO had earlier announced to name the greenfield airport after Bal Thackeray, but local leaders are demanding that it be renamed after D B Patil, who fought for the rights of Project Affected People. PTI DC ARU GK GK

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