Cong Protests Renaming of Hyderabad Airport in RS

New Delhi
Cong Protests Renaming of Hyderabad Airport in RS

Congress today disrupted the functioning of Rajya Sabha over the naming of Hyderabad domestic airport, contending that Rajiv Gandhi's name has been removed and should be restored, a demand rejected by the government.

Days after the domestic part of the airport was named after former Andhra Chief Minister N T Rama Rao, Congress members created uproar in the House alleging that Civil Aviation Minister Gajapathi Raju was resorting to "cheap tactics".

Raising the issue, Anand Bhaskar Rapolu (Cong) said while his party has respect for NTR, the government should "retain" the name of Shamshabad (Hyderabad) airport after Rajiv Gandhi. "Cheap tactics will not yield anything but animosity," he said.

A number of Congress members stormed into the Well during Zero Hour and again during Question Hour over the issue.

The Question Hour became a casualty for the second day in succession as the House was adjourned thrice during the pre-lunch sitting following a major uproar by the Congress members.

Chairman Hamid Ansari's pleas for allowing the Question Hour to function normally went unheeded as agitated Congress members kept shouting slogans and waving placards.

Reacting to Congress contention, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who is also Leader of the House, said, "Mr Rajiv Gandhi's name remains. The demand now is that Mr NTR's name be removed. That is not acceptable."

Jaitley explained that the international part of the airport at Hyderabad is named after Rajiv Gandhi while the domestic airport was originally named after NTR.

"Both Rajiv Gandhi and N T Rama Rao are respectable leaders. Nobody in government wants to show any disrespect to Rajiv Gandhi. Civil Aviation Minister is here, he will give chronology of the event. The international airport is originally in the name of Rajiv Gandhi and that continues to be so. The domestic airport was in the name of NTR and that continues to be so," he said.

The Civil Aviation Minister said, "The record is straight. Rajiv Gandhi's name has not been changed from Hyderabad airport."

The uproar was over an Aviation Ministry order of November 20 which said a decision has been taken to restore the name of the domestic terminal at Shamshabad airport, Hyderabad, as NT Rama Rao Domestic Terminal as it was earlier known at Begumpet airport, Hyderabad.

Due to the continuing row over the issue, only one question could be taken up during the Question Hour today.

Ansari first adjourned the House for around 30 minutes soon after its start and then again at 12:30 PM for another half an hour. Later when the House met at 1 PM, similar scenes were witnessed and the House was adjourned till 2 PM.

The Rajya Sabha Chairman has changed the timing of Question Hour from this session as the hour-long segment often went waste with members seeking to raise issues as soon as the House met for the day at 11 AM.

The strategy, however, did not work again today as the Question Hour was virtually washed out for the second day in succession of Winter Session.

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