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Posted at: Dec 13, 2015, 1:47 AM; last updated: Dec 13, 2015, 1:30 AM (IST)

Chd international airport renaming mired in politics

Chd international airport renaming mired in politics

Aditi Tandon

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 12

The renaming of the International Civil Terminal in Chandigarh remains mired in controversy with the government nowhere near finalising the earlier proposal of rechristening it after Shaheed Bhagat Singh.

The hitch in the proposal came after the BJP-led Haryana Government recently wrote to the Ministry of Civil Aviation to call the international airport after a Jana Sangh stalwart, Dr Mangal Sein, who served as Deputy Chief Minister of Haryana between 1977 and 1979.

Sein, a former president of the Haryana BJP unit, was seven time legislator from Rohtak, a reason why the incumbent Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar wants the airport dedicated to the state Sangh ideologue.

The state of uncertainty over the matter has been confirmed by the Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma in a written reply to Congress MP Ravneet Bittu who asked whether the airport was being named after Shaheed Bhagat Singh.

The government reply clearly says the airport could not be renamed due to non-consensus between the Punjab and Haryana governments.

“The Punjab Government had recommended naming of International Civil Terminal Chandigarh as Shaheed-e-Azam Sardar Bhagat Singh International Airport, Mohali. In 2010, the Government of Haryana had also proposed naming the terminal as Shaheed Bhagat Singh International Airport, Chandigarh. In a subsequent letter, the Chief Minister of Haryana has requested naming the international terminal as Dr Mangal Sein International Airport, Chandigarh. The proposal was examined in consultation with the ministries concerned and the governments of Haryana and Punjab. However, due to non-consensus between Haryana and Punjab, the airport terminal could not be renamed,” the government said.

The Congress has now threatened mass agitations on the issue with Ravneet Bittu, an MP from Ludhiana, saying: “What was the need for further deliberations when the recommendation of both Punjab and the previous Congress-led Haryana government was to rename the airport after our national hero Sardar Bhagat Singh. We will hold mass agitations if the airport is named after a Jana Sangh leader. We will not allow this to happen at any cost.”

The proposal of the BJP government in Haryana to name the airport after Dr Mangal Sein, overruling the recommendation of the previous Congress government, which had proposed the airport be called “Shaheed Bhagat Singh International Airport, Chandigarh”, has deeply hurt the sentiments of the people, Bittu said, accusing the incumbent Akali government in Punjab and the BJP of being hand in glove on the issue. 

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