Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Naming Chandigarh New Airport: Bhagat Singh vs Mangal Sein

Nearly three months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the interntational airport in Chandigarh, no flight has departed for foreign shores from there. Yet, a controversy has raged between Punjab and Haryana over naming it.
Naming the airport has been a bone of contention between the two neighbouring states from the time it was conceived to be upgraded to an international one, six years ago. It is now called the Chandigarh International Airport.
Last week, when BJP-ruled Haryana suggested that it be named after an RSS ideologue and Deputy Chief Minister Mangal Sein, instead of an earlier proposal to name it after Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh, the conflict garnered public attention.
The location of the new terminal building in Mohali is at the root of the christening controversy. The airstrip, under the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) charge, is located in Chandigarh – the joint capital of Punjab and Haryana. While the domestic terminal was located in the Union Territory of Chandigarh, the international terminal was constructed nearby Mohali.
As soon as Punjab initiated the plan to construct the new terminal, once the Centre approved of it in 2009, Haryana too staked claim over it. The then Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda was of the view that since the airport was located in the joint capital, and would be used by residents of both states, Haryana should be a partner in the construction.
29/12/15 Vipin Pubby/The Quint
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