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Terrorists Targeting Sai Baba Shrine In Shirdi

Following intelligence inputs of a possible aerial attack on religious places, the Shirdi Sai Baba Temple Trust has restricted the number of helicopter landings and take- offs at its three helipads to just one a
PTI May 21, 2010 12:34 IST
PTI
Following intelligence inputs of a possible aerial attack on religious places, the Shirdi Sai Baba Temple Trust has restricted the number of helicopter landings and take- offs at its three helipads to just one a day, says a report in Mid Day.

In October 2009, the trust got three helipads constructed about 3 km away from the temple to make access easy for pilgrims. Until recently, there was no cap to the number of landings, making it convenient, especially to VIPs.

Since the helipads were thrown open to the public, pilgrims from different cities made 121 helicopter rides to the temple, and private operators did business to the tune of Rs 2 crore.

In the last two weeks alone, private operators have had to cancel 23 bookings. “ We have cancelled four trips to Shirdi as there is no helipad for landing,” said Ameya Gore, spokesperson for private chopper service operator Airnetz Aviation.

“The helipad available with a private hotel here is not for commercial purpose.” Took us too long Businessman Prakash Thakur was to fly to Shirdi on Tuesday with his family, but had to change his plan after landing permission was denied. “ It took us almost two days to Shirdi and Shani Shingapur by road,” said Thakur. “ Had the helipads been functional, we could have been able to visit both temples within 10 hours.” A Yadav, public relations officer of Shirdi Trust, could not be reached for comment.

Reaching hirdi temple by road takes around 5 hours 30 minutes. The nearest airport is at Nashik and the nearest railway station is Nashik Road, from where it takes 2 hours by road.