Palghar : Maharashtra's 36th district Palghar was craved out of India's most populous district Thane on Friday.
A formal function heralding the new district will be attended by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan later in the day even as scores of hoardings announcing the creation of Palghar were set up at various locations.
The proposal for a new, smaller and manageable Palghar district was hanging fire for over two decades.
It was finally cleared on June 13 by the state government and despite some political opposition, the new district came into being on Friday.
With a population of over 12 million, till Thursday, Thane held the distinction of being the most populated district in the country, spread across 9,600 sq.kms of hills, forests and coastal areas.
Just as Thane is well-connected by Central Railway and Eastern Express Highway, the semi-industrialised Palghar has good connectivity from Western Railway and Western Express Highway, around 90 kms north of Mumbai.
It is also a popular weekend getaway destination for Mumbaikars with its sprawling chikoo and coconut farms, the famous Kelva Beach, Vaghoba Waterfalls, Goddess Shitladevi Temple and Shirgaon Fort.
This is the first major bifurcation of a district since 1999, when Gondiya and Gadchiroli were created in the eastern Vidarbha region of the state, taking the total count to 35 districts in Maharashtra.