In a scathing attack on Rohtak parliamentarian Deepender Hooda for advocating the construction of a domestic airport in Karnal, Rajya Sabha member Ishwar Singh said that the "ill-informed" people were pursuing the case without acknowledging the ground reality.
In October last year, a team of the Airport Authority of India (AAI) had inspected an airstrip at Newal near here to check the feasibility of a domestic airport. AAI findings are yet to be made public but the issue has divide Congress leaders. The Karnal MP Arvind Sharma is demanding airport for his constituency.
"Kurukshetra is the most visited place of Haryana where lakhs of people from various communities visit the place associated with the Bhagwada Gita and nine Sikh Gurus. An airport in the holy city is needed to promote spiritual and cultural tourism," veteran Congress leader Singh told HT on Tuesday. He said the-then chief minister, Bansi Lal, had first raised the demand for an airport at Kurukshetra but somehow it did not materliase.
Singh said that while the state government was promoting temples such as Akshardham, ISKCON and Tirupati Bala ji which attract tourists from all over the world but want the city devoid of an airport facility.
The central government has mooted a plan to convert Kurukshetra into a major tourist destination but the absence of an airport would defeat the project, Singh said. "Since there is no tourist or business destination in Karnal, Kurukshetra is a logical choice for a modern facility."
"Deepender is the one behind the demand for an airport in Karnal over Kurukshetra. He is unaware of these realities and raising voice for it unnecessarily," the Congress said.
"If chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda had studied (at Sainik School, Kunjpura) in Karnal, the city does not become eligible for any prestigious project. To kya ab saare development projects is baat pe nirbhar karenge ke kaun sa neta kahan paida hua, kaha pada aur kahan uski shaadi huyi? (Will the development projects depend on the places associated with the politicians)," said Singh, a known critic of the CM.
A close political aide of union minister Kumari Selja, Singh said he raise the demand of an airport for Kurukshetra in the Parliament.
Social bodies up the ante
Religious and social organisations on Tuesday protested against the Haryana government for preferring Karnal over Kurukshetra for constructing an airport.
Protesters under the banner of the Kurukshetra Vikas and Sangharsh Samiti took out a marched from Panchayat Bhawan to the mini-secretariat and submitted a memorandum to deputy commissioner (DC) Mandip Brar, demanding that the airport should be established in Kurukshetra.
Zila parishad chairperson Praveen Chaudhary said that every year, lakhs of pilgrims visited Kurukshetra to pay obeisance to Jyotisar (the birth place of Bhagvada Gita), Sannehit sarovar and Bhramasarovar during the solar eclipse.
The samiti will take out a procession on Wednesday and submit memorandum to MPs Naveen Jindal, Ram Prakash, and Ishwar Singh for seeking their support in the matter.