Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju on Tuesday said that the whole controversy over naming Chandigarh international airport was unnecessary. The issue was dragged into controversy after Haryana objected to Punjab’s naming the new airport as ‘Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh International Airport Mohali’. Speaking to reporters, the minister said as per PTI, “Punjab government had made a request and Haryana government has also made a request, and everybody feels that there is no need for a controversy… Shaheed Bhagat Singh is the martyr of the country and not a small community.” Pointing out that he does not see any controversy over the issue, the minister further said that there is a is a procedure which must be being followed.
When the minister was whether his statement could be taken as yes for the airport being named after Shaheed Bhagat Singh, city MP Kiron Kher intervened and brushed aside the question. “What’s wrong with Chandigarh, why don’t you like Chandigarh as the name of the airport?”, she asked in a lighter vein, as per agency. In 2017, the Punjab government demanded the airport be named as ‘Shaheed-e-Azam Sardar Shaheed Bhagat Singh International airport, Mohali’. It had also passed a resolution in the state Assembly. While Haryana government did not have any objection to the use of Bhagat Singh’s name, it raised concerns about the use of ‘Mohali’ in the airport’s name.
Earlier in January, the minister had said that nine proposals to rename different airports in the country are being considered by the Centre. After a demand was made to name the Madurai Airport after Muthuramalingan Thevar was raised in Rajya Sabha, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy felt that the contribution made by Thevar was largely ignored. While replying to the question, the minister said that airports are renamed based on suggestions by the state government supported by a resolution passed in respective Assembly. He also said that as far as Tamil Nadu is concerned, the state did not favour naming of buildings and other places after public figures.