In A recent bid to end the controversy over naming the upcoming international airport in Mohali,Punjab government has now proposed a new name Shaheed Bhagat Singh International Airport Chandigarh at Mohali.
The earlier name proposed by Punjab was Shaheed Bhagat Singh International Airport Mohali. Later,the word Chandigarh was added after Union Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh proposed that the airport be named Shaheed Bhagat Singh International Airport Mohali-Chandigarh in order to end the stalemate between the Punjab and Haryana governments.
Now,in the latest proposal sent to the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation,the Punjab government has proposed that it be called Shaheed Bhagat Singh International Airport Chandigarh at Mohali.
Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda,however,had objected to the use of the word Mohali in the name insisting that the airport would be named with only reference to Chandigarh as it is the capital of both the states.
Over 305 acres of land was acquired at Jheourheri village in Mohali in 2008 for the airport. The project is now being monitored by a joint company Chandigarh International Airport Company Limited which has on board Punjab,Haryana and Airport Authority of India (AAI) officials. While Both Punjab and Haryana governments had contributed 24.5 per cent each to the land cost,AAI had paid the rest of the amount.
Initially,Punjab had proposed to call the airport the Mohali International Airport,but Haryana objected to it. Haryana had insisted that Punjab should stick to the name Chandigarh International Airport,which was originally written in the memorandum of understanding signed between the two states and the AAI.
Last year,the Punjab Assembly had resolved that the airport be named after Shaheed Bhagat Singh,which Haryana accepted. However,while Punjab wanted it to be named Shaheed Bhagat Singh International Airport Mohali,Haryana wanted it to be named Shaheed Bhagat Singh International Airport Chandigarh.
At this stage,the civil aviation ministry called for comments from both the states,as the matter had to be decided by the Union cabinet. But the two states were not ready to give in to one anothers proposal. The matter came up for discussion in the Union cabinet but was deferred.
With Ajit Singh coming up with a solution,Punjab has now lapped it up to say that the airport can be now called Shaheed Bhagat Singh International airport Chandigarh at Mohali. However,Haryana is not ready to accept this either.
Though no formal response to this proposal has been sent by Haryana,sources in the Department of Civil Aviation said there is no way that Haryana will agree to the use of the word Mohali in the airports name.
Haryana officials argue that as the state has paid half the money for the airport,Punjab cannot claim it as its own. They add that Chandigarh should be agreeable as it is the capital of both the states.
Officials in Punjab,however,maintained that whatever might be the name of the airport,its postal address will be Mohali. The word Mohali will inadvertently creep in the name of the airport as it is located there.
With the matter hanging fire for over three years,the airport awaits its foundation,which was expected to be laid down by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Construction of the airport is already underway and sources said 30 per cent of the work has been completed. The airport is expected to be functional by March 2015.