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No controversy over naming Chandigarh international airport: Raju

Minister, MPs differ: The aviation minister says naming it after Shaheed Bhagat Singh is not a controversy because he was the country’s hero; Chandigarh MP Kher says present name is fine; Chandumajra wants Mohali to be added to it.

punjab Updated: Feb 28, 2018 11:55 IST
Ifrah Mufti
Ifrah Mufti
Press Trust of India, Chandigarh
Chandigarh airport,Bhagat Singh International Airport,Ashok Gajapathi Raju
Union civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju addressing a gathering during the inauguration function of Aviation Multi Skill Development Centre at old civil airport in Chandigarh on Tuesday.(Keshav Singh/HT)

There is no controversy over naming of the Chandigarh International Airport, said Union civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju, who was here to inaugurate Multi-Skill Development Institute (MSDC), a corporate social responsibility (CSR) of Airport Authority of India at the Old Civil Air Terminal on Tuesday.

The new terminal of the airport, which was inaugurated on September 11, 2015, has been in controversy over naming it as Chandigarh International Airport, Mohali Airport or just Shaheed Bhagat Singh Airport.

Commenting on it, Raju stated, “The Punjab government had made a request and even Haryana government had also submitted its preference about name. Naming it after Shaheed Bhagat Singh is not a controversy because he was the country’s hero.”

‘We are following a procedure’

He added, “Naming the airport has to go through a procedure and we are following the same.” However, when asked if his statement can be taken as a yes for the International airport being named after Shaheed Bhagat Singh, city MP Kirron Kher commented, “Chandigarh is fine. What is the problem in naming the airport simply as Chandigarh International Airport.”

Anandpur Sahib MP Prem Singh Chandumajra responded, “Why can’t both the names be included? It should be Chandigarh Shaheed Bhagat Singh Airport, Mohali. When the governments do not have a problem, the airport’s name should be named after Shaheed Bhagat Singh but with addition of both Chandigarh and Mohali.”

To this Kher responded, “Such a big name?”

Why Haryana, Punjab govts take different stands

The controversy over this issue had started when the Haryana government had objected to the Punjab government’s proposal of naming the airport as ‘Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh International Airport’. Both states earlier agreed to it being named after Bhagat Singh, but later the BJP government led by Khattar had written to the civil aviation ministry to name the airport after Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leader Mangal Sein.

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.

The minister also said that the Haryana government is seeking help to increase the number of airports in their state. Raju also elaborated over the regional connectivity scheme- Udan.

Skill development centre

The Multi-Skill Development Centre inaugurated at the Old Civil Air Terminal near Behlana will train 2,400 candidates in eight aviation job roles over the next three years. The centre has been set up in collaboration with the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) and is supported by the Aerospace and Aviation Sector Skill Council (AASSC) of India.

With an outlay of Rs 5.25 crore, this project in collaboration with the Bird Education Society for Travel and Tourism (BESTT) will undertake the training programmes. It will be a free-of-cost course for two months, after which 70 of the successful students will be offered placements.

Courses free for the poor

There are seven courses, including airline customer service executive, airline security executive, airline reservation agent, airline cargo assistant, airline ramp executive, airport X-ray qualified staff and airline flight load controller. The first batch of airline customer service executive began on Tuesday. This free-of-cost course is for the students belonging to the below poverty line.

First Published: Feb 27, 2018 17:41 IST