December 21, 2015 (Airportchandigarh.com): The controversy to name the new terminal at Mohali has intensified after the current CM of Haryana, Manohar Lal Khattar recently proposed to name the airport after Dr. Mangal Sein, a previous deputy CM of Haryana and Jan Sangh leader. For the last several years, Punjab government has been trying to get the airport named after the martyr Bhagat Singh. Several discussions were held between Haryana and Punjab governments, however a consensus never took place. The previous CM of Haryana, Bhupinder Singh Hooda after objecting a few times, finally agreed to the name "Bhagat Singh International Airport Chandigarh", a slight variation to the name "Shaheed-E-Azam Sardar Bhagat Singh International Airport Mohali" - which was proposed by the Punjab government earlier.
Punjab government then proposed to add "Mohali" to the name and once again the matter ended up in a stalemate. Since Punjab and Haryana both own an equal stake in the airport, Central government decided that the airport cannot be named until both the governments reach a consensus.
Several political parties in Punjab and independent groups have raised an objection to name the airport after Dr. Mangal Sein. Recently a protest took place in Hisar, Haryana where an effigy of Manohar Lal was burnt by Indian National Students Organisation (INSO).
Why to Rush Into Calling a Domestic Airport International?
Even after waiting for several years, there are no international flights in sight at the airport in Mohali. Why should the airport be called international anyway when there are no international flights operating? Regardless of the name given to the airport, it will not be appropriate to insert "international" in it until there are international flights actually operational.
A common man is more interested in having proper facilities at the airport than the name. Several hundred crores of Rupees have been spent at the new airport, yet the overall result remains the same - the airport only operates domestic flights.
Several reasons have been given in the last several years for not operating international flights including:
- Night landing not available
- Lack of adequate staff
- Runway needs to be upgraded
- Instrument Landing System needs to be upgraded
- Airlines in the process of preparation
- Approval needed from Ministry of Defence
The concerned authorities should focus more on addressing the core issue i.e. lack of international flights than renaming the airport - which requires both Haryana and Punjab governments to meet together and resolve amicably, keeping in view the sentiments of the people as well.