Sunday, September 25, 2022

Chandigarh airport to be named after Bhagat Singh, says PM Modi; end of seven-year tussle between Punjab, Haryana

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced Sunday during his monthly ‘Mann Ki Baat’ radio programme that the Chandigarh international airport would be named after freedom fighter Bhagat Singh. The announcement came three days before the martyr’s birth anniversary Wednesday, September 28, ending a seven-year standoff between the Punjab and Haryana governments over the naming of the airport.

Earlier, Haryana had objected that the airport should be named after Chandigarh only as it is the joint capital of both states. Former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda had agreed with Punjab to name the airport after Bhagat Singh but after the BJP, led by Manohar Lal Khattar, took over the reins in Haryana, in 2015, he put forth his view that it should be named after an RSS ideologue Mangel Sen.

The Punjab Vidhan Sabha in 2017 passed a resolution that the airport should be named after Bhagat Singh and this led to a debate.

Haryana also agreed later but it wanted that the airport should not be called Mohali airport even though it is located in the city. For setting up the airport, Punjab had given land in Mohali.

The face-off between both governments, however, ended last month when Haryana Deputy Chief minister Dushyant Chautala stated that the airport would now be named after Bhagat Singh.

In a statement issued, Chautala had said: “Chandigarh airport shall now be named after Shaheed Bhagat Singh. Punjab and Haryana governments have agreed on this name. The new name was finalised after a meeting with Punjab’s chief minister. Shaheed Bhagat Singh is an idol for the youth. We have also made a recommendation of including Panchkula with the airport’s new name.” Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann also posted a tweet later about the name change.

25/09/22 Kanchan Vasdev/Indian Express

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