A proposed design of the Shivamogga Airport in Karnataka is turning out to be the latest flashpoint between the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and the opposition Congress in the state. According to Congress, the artistic impression released by the authorities shows that the top view of the airport resembles a lotus, the poll sign of the ruling party. The Karnataka Congress has objected to it saying that lotus is an election symbol of the BJP and as per a 2016 order of the Delhi High Court, public money cannot be used to construct structures resembling any party’s symbol.
Congress Karnataka spokesperson Brijesh Kalappa said that the state and the central BJP leadership should take cognisance and reconsider its design. On the other hand, the ruling BJP has said that lotus is India’s national flower and the project’s design has nothing to do with the BJP’s election symbol.
However, reports suggest the design is almost final and any change is unlikely. Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa hails from the Shimoga district and has been taking a special interest in the project. He has asked authorities to speeded up the construction to get the project ready by 2022. The CM had said that he will be visiting the site every two months to do a status check.
The controversy over the design of the Shivamogga or Shimoga airport project is not the first. There are allegations that the project cost has increased following the intervention of CM Yediyirappa’s son BS Vijayendra. Recently, Karnataka BJP MLC A H Vishwanath alleged that BS Vijayendra has taken 10 percent of kickbacks in some projects. The cost of Shimoga airport is estimated at Rs 384 crore.
BSY’s son and BJP MP BY Raghavendra, however, defended the Shimoga airport terminal building’s design. He said that the Congress party wants to hamper development in the state by doing politics over it.
A 3D blueprint of the project was released on Saturday in front of CM Yediyurappa. The state-of-the-art airport, as promised by Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, will be the second-biggest airport after Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru.