New Delhi, Sep 25 (PTI) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday announced that the Chandigarh airport will be renamed after Bhagat Singh as a tribute to the great freedom fighter, triggering a race among several leaders to claim credit for it.
In his ‘Mann Ki Baat’ radio broadcast, Modi said that September 28 is an important day of ‘Amrit Mahotsav’ as it is the birth anniversary of Bhagat Singh.
“Just before the birth anniversary of Bhagat Singh, an important decision has been taken as a tribute to him. It has been decided that the Chandigarh airport will now be named after Shaheed Bhagat Singh. It had been in waiting for a long time,” Modi said.
He congratulated the people of Chandigarh, Punjab and Haryana and the rest of the country for this decision.
“Let us take inspiration from our freedom fighters, follow their ideals and build the India of their dreams… this is our tribute to them. The memorials of martyrs, the names of places and institutions named after them inspire us with a sense of duty,” the prime minister said.
Just a few days ago, the country made a similar effort by setting up the statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose on Kartavya Path and now the renaming of the Chandigarh airport after Bhagat Singh is another step in that direction, he noted.
“I wish that the way in which we are celebrating special occasions related to freedom fighters during Amrit Mahotsav, every youth must try something new on September 28 in the same way,” he said.
Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann and several other leaders welcomed the prime minister’s announcement.
However, the announcement also triggered a race to claim credit for the decision.
This is the result of the strenuous efforts of the state government, an official statement quoting Mann said.
He said it is a dream come true for him and every Punjabi as his government has been making concerted efforts in this regard.
Thanking PM Modi, BJP leader and former Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh, however, said it was his government (when he was in the Congress), which had pursued the matter with the Centre since 2017.
In a statement, he said it was a long-pending demand of Punjabis that the airport be named after Bhagat Singh, who is an outstanding symbol of valour, courage and sacrifice for the country.
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar expressed gratitude to the prime minister for his announcement.
According to an official statement, Khattar said Bhagat Singh’s birth anniversary falls on September 28 and renaming the Chandigarh airport after him before his birthday is significant.
Khattar added that the young generation should draw inspiration from the freedom fighter’s sacrifice and values.
Haryana’s Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala also welcomed the announcement.
Chautala said Punjab and Haryana governments had earlier agreed to rename the Chandigarh international airport after Bhagat Singh.
The decision came after Mann and Chautala held a meeting over this issue last month.
Referring to his meeting with Chautala, Mann said, “We held discussions and then a consensus was reached”.
“Later, the Punjab government had also sent a letter to the Union Civil Aviation Ministry, saying that Bhagat Singh’s birth anniversary falls on September 28 and it will be good if the airport could be named after the legendary freedom fighter before that.
“I am happy that our efforts bore fruit and the prime minister made the announcement in the Mann Ki Baat programme,” said Mann.
The Punjab government in 2017 had demanded that the airport be named as “Shaheed-e-Azam Sardar Shaheed Bhagat Singh International Airport, Mohali”.
Though the Haryana government had no objection to the use of Bhagat Singh’s name, it had raised concerns about the use of ‘Mohali’ in the airport’s name. PTI ASK SUN VSD DIV DIV
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