PUNE: Work on the much-delayed airport at Shirdi has suffered yet another setback, one that has cost the exchequer crores of rupees.
Due to the delay in implementing the project, the only runway of the airport was damaged by two-wheeler riders and motorists, who used it as a short-cut between Sangamner and Shirdi, reports The Indian Express.
The runway had to be repaired at a cost of Rs 7 crore, informed officials.
Work on the airport started in 2010 and was expected to be completed by 2012. The 2.5-km long and 60-metre wide runway was constructed by the Maharashtra Airport Development Company (MADC), the implementing agency of the project. “However, due to the unavailability of funds, the project was stuck,” said Vishwas Patil, vice-chairman and managing director of MADC.
Before the project came to a grinding halt, the MADC had managed to construct the 2.5-km long runway and a compound wall which stretched over 6 kilometres. “Work on the compound wall remained incomplete. It was supposed to be a 14-km long wall, built around the 1,100-acre airport. As only part of the wall had been constructed, the area became a freeway for two-wheeler riders and other vehicular traffic. It suffered massive damage and had to be recarpeted and redone,” said MADC officials.
The open and unfenced land was used as short-cut by two-wheeler riders and motorists from Sangamner to reach Shirdi, said Patil. “This route was a shortcut… they had to travel 7-8 kilometres less to reach Shirdi,” he said.