Saturday, September 21, 2013

Badal: I\'m fine with Haryana naming any area near Delhi as New Delhi

CHANDIGARH: As the controversy rages on over renaming of Mullanpur as New Chandigarh by the Punjab government, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Thursday said that he would not have a problem if Haryana named any area near Delhi as New Delhi.

\"If Punjab stands to benefit from something, why should anyone else have a problem?\" he said at the Idea Exchange programme of The Indian Express.

The decision taken by the Punjab Government to rename Mullanpur as New Chandigarh has witnessed opposition from Haryana as well as Chandigarh. It is alleged that Punjab is trying to capitalise on the name of Chandigarh which is a city renowned for its planning and architecture, and the state government is making attempts to attract investment by NRIs in Mullanpur.

Responding to these allegations, Badal said that there was no harm if Punjab benefited from this. No one should have a problem with the decision.

There has been a war of words between the two states over the issue. Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda had termed the decision \"unethical\", and said if he named Gurgaon as Newly Born Delhi or Modern Delhi, it would not be incorrect.

The decision had been criticised by Chandigarh MP Pawan Kumar Bansal as well. He had alleged that this seemed like a decision to attract investment in real estate. He had raised questions on whether this Chandigarh had become old and that was the new one.

In fact, Mullanpur is not the only bone of contention between Punjab and Haryana. Chandigarh being the joint capital of the two states is another sore point. Badal said, \"Nowhere has it happened that after re-organisation, the parent state does not get the capital. This is what has happened with Punjab. Till the night before re-organisation, we were assured that Chandigarh would be our capital. However, we were betrayed by the Centre. It is the new state which is created that is supposed to develop a new capital. Several times have I taken up the issue with the Prime Minister and the Home Minister, but no action is taken.\"

Another issue over which the two states have not been able to see eye to eye is the naming of the international airport being constructed. The new terminal is being constructed in Mohali while the runway that is currently serving the Chandigarh domestic airport would be used. Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh are stakeholders in the project.

However, Punjab and Haryana have not been able to reach a consensus on the name of the airport. Haryana is objecting to the use of Mohali in the name of the airport which was proposed to be named as Shaheed Bhagat Singh Airport, Mohali. On this, Badal said, \"When the airport is in Mohali, how can the address be changed?\"

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