Friday, December 24, 2021

Su Venkatesan, Scindia spar over Madurai airport

Madurai: Madurai MP Su Venkatesan’s recent statement on Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia turning down the request to upgrade Madurai airport as an international one and to include it in Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement (BASA) sparked a heated debate between the two on social media. 

Venkatesan and Virudhunagar MP Manickam Tagore recently called on Scindia in New Delhi and submitted a written representation signed by seven MPs from south Tamil Nadu. In their letter, the MPs requested the Union Minister to include Madurai airport as a point of call in BASA and to elevate it as an ‘international airport’. 

In his statement sharing Scindia’s response to the plea, Venkatesan, on Tuesday, said the Union Minister declined the requests saying TN already has three international airports while a few northern States have just one.

Following backlash from various quarters, Scindia, on Wednesday, wrote on Twitter, “Shocked and disappointed by the gross misrepresentation of facts. Some States in both North and South India (like Uttar Pradesh and Kerala) have more than one international airport. Hence, the statement quoted by the MP is baseless.”

The decision to grant international status is dependent on several factors including passenger demand, he said. The Minister further wrote, “The MP’s insistence over according international status to the airport is incomprehensible as international flights are currently being operated at Madurai airport.”

Reacting sharply to Scindia’s tweet, Venkatesan, on Thursday, tweeted, “Why is he shocked?” Reiterating the union minister’s refusal to upgrade Madurai airport as an international one during their meeting, the MP wrote, “He said that at least five chief ministers were demanding second international airports and their demands were still not met.”

24/12/21 New Indian Express

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