Maharashtra’s cabinet on Saturday approved a proposal to name the next Navi Mumbai International Airport after the late DB Patil, who led several protests by farmers and landowners in the Panvel district when the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) had acquired land in the area in the 70s and 80s.
The state government’s decision comes weeks after thousands of protesters marched to CIDCO’s headquarters in Belapur to press their request for the next airport to be named after the local hero.
An earlier proposal to name the airport after Shiv Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray sparked widespread protests for nearly a year in Navi Mumbai, Raigad, Thane and Palghar districts.
In a letter to CIDCO in December 2020, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, then the state’s Urban Development Minister, proposed that the airport be named Bal Thackeray. CIDCO followed up on Shinde’s letter.
Dinkar Balu Patil also known as DB Patil was born in Jasai, a village in Uran taluka of Raigad district. He was associated with the Peasants’ and Workers’ Party (PWP). Born into a farming family, Patil received his Bachelor of Laws in 1951 and a year later won an election to the Kolaba District Local Council. He then represented Panvel in the Maharashtra Assembly for five terms between 1957 and 1980.