After fighting over the naming of the international airport in Chandigarh, Punjab and Haryana have finally agreed to name it after Shaheed Bhagat Singh. Bharatiya Janata Party’s Punjab president Kamal Sharma, who claimed he had mediated between the two state governments on the issue, said on Wednesday that a consensus had been arrived at between Punjab and Haryana over the airport’s name.
Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar has agreed to name the airport after Shaheed Bhagat Singh, he said.
In a letter to union minister of state for civil aviation Mahesh Sharma, the BJP leader urged for naming the airport before March 23, the martyrdom anniversary of the freedom fighter, a Punjab BJP statement said here.
The civil air terminal at Chandigarh airport was inaugurated by PM Narendra Modi on September 11 last year. Both states earlier agreed to it being named after Bhagat Singh, but later the BJP government led by Khattar, which assumed office in October 2014, wrote to the civil aviation ministry to name the airport after Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leader Mangal Sein.
An upset Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal wrote to Modi in December 2015, terming the (Khattar) move “distasteful”.
Last year, Mahesh Sharma told Parliament that the naming of the airport was delayed as the Punjab and Haryana governments had not agreed on the name. Facing criticism, Khattar clarified that his government had no objection to the airport being named after Shaheed Bhagat Singh.
“When the matter was discussed with us, the name (of Bhagat Singh) had not been finalised. Since no name was finalised, we proposed the name of Dr Mangal Sein through a letter. Even if they keep Bhagat Singh’s name, we have no objection to it,” Khattar said.
“It (airport) can be named after Bhagat Singh. But they (central government) must ensure that the airport contains the word Chandigarh and nothing else,” Khattar said. The airport terminal is located in Punjab’s Mohali district and the Punjab government has put up signs of Mohali international airport. This has upset the Haryana government.
The assemblies of Punjab and Haryana had, in 2009 and 2010, respectively, passed resolutions for naming the airport after martyr Bhagat Singh. Both states have a 24.5% stake each in the airport terminal project.