“Villagers, especially schooland college-going students, have to shell out of a lot of money daily on private transport to travel to nearby towns for education and other work. While we have been waiting like fools for state transport bus services to start, the airport comes as a tight slap on our faces,” he said.
Kakdi village, located around 15km from Shirdi, was identified for an airport for the benefit of pilgrims to the temple town. The village has a population of around 4,500. Rahata and Kopargaon towns in Ahmednagar district are located around 12km and 30km from the village. With a huge tract of land in Kakdi having been used for constructing the airport and related facilities, the villagers are now demanding basic amenities in return.
“The buses have high fares and are basically for outstation devotees. How will our students who come from a humble background use these buses? Also, the schedule of these buses has been decided in keeping with flights arriving at the Shirdi airport,” a villager said. He sought the intervention of the state government as well as the Shirdi temple trust to end their commuting woes.
Shirdi temple trustee Rubal Agrawal could not be reached for comment. Temple spokesperson Mohan Yadav said the airport facility for Shirdi has become a reality due to government funding. “We only offered Rs 50 crore as a token of our commitment towards the devotees. The remaining expenditure has been borne by the government. The MSRTC is expected to take a call on starting a bus service in the village,” he said. When contacted, MSRTC authorities said they have proposed bus connectivity for Kakdi.