NZC fails to end Chandigarh airport name deadlock

Haryana says ready to leave claim if Punjab returns amount spent by it on construction

NZC fails to end Chandigarh airport name deadlock

Ramkrishan Upadhyay

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 20

The Northern Zonal Council (NZC) has dropped the issue of renaming the existing civil air terminal in Chandigarh after no consensus could be reached on it during a meeting held under the chairmanship of Union Home Minister Amit Shah. Solving the controversy over renaming of the airport was one of the important agendas of the 29th meeting of the council held in the city on September 20 last year.

Sources said the governments of Haryana and Punjab refused to change their stand on the issue despite an intervention by the Union Home Minister.

While Punjab remained adamant on its demand for renaming the civil air terminal complex at the Chandigarh airport as ‘Shaheed-e-Azam Sardar Bhagat Singh International Airport, Mohali’, the Haryana Government objected to the word Mohali.

In the minutes of the meeting recently released to the states concerned, it has been mentioned that after a prolonged deliberation, the issue remains unsolved. The chairman of the meeting then directed that the issue may be dropped from the agenda.

While discussing the issue, the Finance Minister of Haryana stated that the stated entered into an agreement for a joint venture with Punjab with a commitment of investment of 24.05 per cent in the construction of the airport at Chandigarh on a condition that the name of the airport would be Chandigarh. “Had the name of the airport been decided on the name of some city of Punjab, Haryana would not have invested that much amount in the construction of the airport,” said the minister.

On the other hand, the Chief Secretary of Punjab said as per the airport naming policy of the Ministry of Civil Aviation, the airport was named after the revenue district in which it was located. Punjab had acquired 300 acres in Mohali where the terminal is located.

The Chairman observed that when Punjab had to add a name of its district with the Chandigarh airport it should not have taken money from Haryana for the construction of the airport.

The Punjab Chief Secretary stated that Haryana had made an offer for that.

The Chairman said the Haryana would leave its claim for the name of Chandigarh, provided Punjab agrees to return the whole amount invested in the construction after making an evaluation of it. The Punjab Chief Secretary said the Chief Minister would have to take a call on that.

The Chief Minister of Punjab said Haryana was formed out of Punjab. It gave Gurugram and Faridabad to Haryana and Haryana should concede and allow addition of Mohali to Chandigarh.

It may be noted that the Government of Punjab had passed a resolution in the Vidhan Sabha to name the civil air terminal complex at the Chandigarh airport as ‘Shaheed-E-Azam Sardar Bhagat Singh International Airport, Mohali’. The CM of Punjab also wrote to the Minister of State for Civil Aviation, reiterating the demand.

The ministry tried to convince the state governments to resolve the issue in the past, but there is no consensus among the states. When the ministry failed to solve the issue, it was brought before the NZC.


The decade-old row

  • In 2008, Punjab passed a non-official resolution in the Vidhan Sabha to name the civil air terminal at the airport as ‘Shaheed-e-Azam Sardar Bhagat Singh International Airport, Mohali’.
  • On March 31, 2016, the Haryana Vidhan Sabha passed a resolution on renaming the terminal, but with the use of ‘Chandigarh’.
  • Later, the CMs of Haryana and Punjab wrote to the Civil Aviation Minister pitching for their cases.
  • Thereafter, the Ministry of Civil Aviation twice requested Punjab to reconsider its demand and reach an amicable solution.
  • Punjab, however, told the ministry on March 15 last year that its demand should be considered as the terminal was situated in the revenue district of SAS Nagar.

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