Maharashtra Cabinet today approved the renaming of Shirdi Greenfield International airport as Sri Saibaba International airport. With the cabinet nod in place, the proposal will now be sent to Union Civil Aviation Ministry once both the Houses of state legislature approves the renaming. “In October, it will be 100 years since Saibaba took samadhi. Keeping the large footfall of devotees in mind, preparations are on in full swing to ensure the airport starts operations at the earliest,” the CMO (Chief Minister’s Office) said in a communication. The airport was built by the Maharashtra Airport Development Corporation (MADC) to cater to the large number of devotees visiting the Saibaba shrine. Meanwhile, in a related development, the Maharashtra State Security Corporation (MSSC) has decided to provide its security to the popular shrine, in view of the large number of devotees. “In our security review meeting, we found that the Saibaba temple is in the need of higher security considering the large footfall of devotees there. We thus had a meeting with members of the Shirdi Sai Sansthan Trust to finalise the intricacies,” a senior Home department official told PTI. He added that talks are at a nascent stage now.
However, he said the intricacies like the number of well-trained security guards to be provided and the quantum of cost to be borne by the Trust will be sorted out by the next week. “There has been a slight delay in finalising the arrangements as the Trust wants a lesser number of guards to save costs. But our assessment states that they require more security considering the level of threat perception (to the shrine),” he said. MSSC is a corporate body, headed by an IPS officer of the rank of Additional Director General of Police. It provides protection and security to the offices of the state and Central governments, undertakings, employees of such establishments, PSUs in Maharashtra, besides to financial, educational and religion institutions.