ON A day the first international flight was scheduled to take off from the Chandigarh International Airport, the controversy over the name of the airport was back in the news, with Haryana objecting to Punjab’s attempt to stake claim on it by calling it Mohali International Airport in newspaper advertisements and hoardings.
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar shot off a letter to his Punjab counterpart Parkash Singh Badal expressing “deep anguish” at this.
“I am deeply anguished by the advertisements that appeared in various newspapers terming the Chandigarh International Airport as Mohali International Airport. This is factually incorrect. The fact is that the final nomenclature of this airport has not yet been decided by Government of India,” Khattar wrote to Badal. “Being the equal partner in Chandigarh International Airport Limited, we strongly object to this misleading advertisement campaign carried out by the state government of Punjab.”
At the international airport arrival hall, where a press conference was addressed by Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju Pusapati, two hoardings were placed. One of them carried a picture of Punjab Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal — who travelled on the first flight along with a delegation — with Mohali International Airport written on it.
Naming of the airport has been a bone of contention between Punjab and Haryana. In 2009, the Punjab Assembly passed a resolution that the airport should be named Shaheed-E-Azam Sardar Bhagat Singh International Airport Mohali-Chandigarh. The resolution was sent to the Civil Aviation Ministry. However, Haryana wanted that the name should only say Chandigarh, not Mohali. It later moved a proposal that the airport be named after RSS leader Mangal Sein.