Maharashtra cabinet on Wednesday sanctioned Rs 100 crore to fund the ongoing development work of Shirdi airport.
Shirdi, famous for its Sai Baba temple, attracts about 15,000 devotees every day, according to government’s estimate.
The airport works are expected to be completed by next year, before the centenary celebrations of Sai Baba start.
An official from the general administration department said the government expects at least 6-8 charter flights to take-off and land at the new airport every day.
“The pending work will be completed by Maharashtra Airport Development Corporation. Rs 100 crore will be used for extending the length of the runway from 2,200 metres to 3,200 metres and to increase the capacity of the terminal building,” the official said.
“Also, the capacity of parking lots will be increased, baggage and screening machines will be installed, arrangements for passenger security checks, wind direction indicator and parallel taxiway facility will be made available,” he added.
The airport would be operational by 2017-18.
The cabinet also approved acquisition of additional 22 hectares of government land for the remaining work, over and above the 350 hectares already acquired for the airport.
The government cleared the proposal of development of the airport at Kakdi village, 15 km from Shirdi in Ahmednagar district, in June 2008.
The total cost of the project was Rs 264 crore. It was decided back then that Saibaba Sansthan (temple trust) will contribute Rs 50 crore. “The Sansthan has already paid Rs 45 crore, balance is yet to be paid,” the official said.