Thursday, October 06, 2016

Controversy takes off over renaming of airport

In what appears to be another inter-state dispute in the making, a war of words has ensued between Punjab and Haryana over the yet-to-be-named international airport at Mohali. While Punjab, in whose territory the 1,400-crore joint venture facility is located, keeps calling it Mohali International Airport, Haryana is seething at the nomenclature.

Chandigarh Airport got its much-awaited international status a full year after Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated it. Union Territory Chandigarh , the joint capital of Punjab and Haryana, saw its first international flight to Sharjah taking off from here on 15 September and a flight to Dubai on 26 September.

However, the inaugural event saw a twist, with the Haryana government raising strong objections to the Punjab government claiming the airport to be Mohali International Airport. A war of words erupted between Punjab Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal and his Haryana counterpart Manohar Lal Khattar. Earlier also, when work on the international airport began, Badal and then Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda had traded barbs on this issue and at one stage it appeared that the two had agreed to rename ‘Chandigarh Airport’ as ‘Shaheed Bhagat Singh International Airport’.

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has raised strong objection to Punjab claiming the airport to be ‘Mohali International Airport’ and shot off a demi-official letter to his Punjab counterpart Badal.

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