Controversy surfaces over naming Jharsuguda airport

Bhubaneswar: Controversy surfaced over naming of Jharsuguda airport after Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Jayant Sinha denied receiving any proposal in the form of a resolution from the State government while Odisha CM had written a letter to the Centre urging to name the new airport after freedom fighter Veer Surendra Sai.

In reply to queries from BJD MPs Prasanna Acharya and Prabhas Singh, Sinha stated in the Parliament that naming of an airport is done on the basis of a resolution passed by the State Assembly. However, the Odisha government has not sent any such proposal to the Ministry, Sinha added.

Earlier on June 15, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had written a letter to the Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu requesting him to name the airport after freedom fighter Veer Surendra Sai. Though the airport is almost ready for operations, the Ministry is yet to name it, said sources.

“Whatever legal action is required for naming the airport will be done by both State and Centre. Undoubtedly the airport will be named after Veer Surendra Sai,” said Acharya.

The airport has been built under the Centre’s UDAN scheme at a cost of Rs 200 crore which includes Odisha government’s share of Rs 75 crore.

“It is the fault of the State government that without proper process it is recommending a name in a piece of paper. Neither a resolution has been passed in the Assembly nor was proper process followed. It is only a poll gimmick and pretence,” said Suresh Kumar Routray, senior Congress leader.

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Lambasting the State government, BJP State General Secretary, Prithviraj Harichandan said, “Even after ruling for 18 years, neither the chief minister nor his officials know what the guidelines are for naming an airport. It’s very unfortunate.”

Presenting his party’s stand, BJD spokesperson, Sasmit Patra said “When the CM had written to the Civil Aviation Minister and a proposal has been given, it is unclear why Sinha has made such a statement.”

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