The Maharashtra government has decided to develop the area around Shirdi airport in Ahmednagar as a well-planned city. The proposed city will be developed on the lines of Naina (Navi Mumbai Airport-Influenced Notified Area) project in Navi Mumbai.
The decision was taken at the 76th meeting of Maharashtra Airport Development Corporation (MADC) chaired by chief minister Uddhav Thackeray recently. The influence area around the airport has also been named ‘ASHA’ (Area around Shirdi Hub Airport).
MADC has been appointed as special planning authority for the ASHA project. The company will now prepare a detailed project report (DPR) for the project. MADC was constituted in the year 2002 by the Government of Maharashtra as a special purpose company to develop Multi-modal International Hub Airport at Nagpur (MIHAN) and aviation infrastructure in the State.
Shirdi airport is located at Kakadi in Kopargaon, which is 14-km from Shirdi and is spread over a 350-hectare area. Shirdi is the fourth busiest airport in Maharashtra after Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur. In 2020, it was used by 569,000 passengers, up from just 229,000 in 2019. The state government is planning to acquire around 1,600-hectare of land around the airport to develop the city.
Under the plan, MADC will develop four types of industries in the project, including the maintenance and repair industry of aircraft, cargo and logistics, infrastructure for religious tourism and hotels and the hospitality sector.