Jayalalitha boycotts inaugural of new airport terminal

The much-awaited new domestic and international terminals of the Chennai Airport and other upgraded facilities were finally unveiled on Thursday, even as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, J Jayalalitha boycotted the inaugural function to protest to the Centre for turning down her plea to name the newly-built domestic terminal after AIADMK founder M G Ramachandran. It would, however, still take a month for the new terminal buildings to become fully operational.

Jayalalitha first drove down to receive Vice-President M Hamid Ansari at the old airport used exclusively for VVIP visits, as per protocol, but did not further drive down to the newly built terminals, where Ansari later dedicated the magnificent structures to the Nation in the presence of Union Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh and others. A chair was kept vacant on the dais, even as Ansari formally inaugurated the new terminals, built with a massive outlay of Rs 2,015 crore.

However, halfway through the function, a statement from Jayalalitha, explaining her absence, said that though she had urged the Centre to issue a notification naming the new domestic terminal after “Bharat Ratna and former chief minister MGR” before the inaugural, there was no reply from the Centre till date.“With no favourable reply to my letter from the Central Government, the people of Tamil Nadu and me are deeply pained; hence I wish to regretfully inform that I am not participating in the inaugural function of the new terminals of the Chennai Airport,” Jayalalithaa said.

The OBC Nadar groups had few days back protested urging the Centre not to accede to her request, as the existing domestic terminal was named after late leader and former chief minister, K Kamaraj. Commending the AAI for its “outstanding work” in modernizing the Chennai Airport, Ansari said, “it has attained greater importance in view of India’s Look East Policy due to which greater economic and commercial integration with countries of East and South East Asia is taking place.”

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