In an apparent bid to please Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, the United Progressive Alliance government has approved the renaming of the Madurai International Airport as Pasumpon Muthuramalingam Thevar International Airport.
Even though Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel will move this proposal only on Thursday in the Cabinet meeting, the government is already going ahead with the proposal regardless of the response from other concerned ministries like finance, environment and forests, and tourism and the planning commission.
The defence and home ministries have consented to renaming the airport.
Madurai is the hub of DMK stalwart and Union minister M K Alagiri. Therefore to please its ally, the Centre has also included this as an agenda. Alagiri, though, may not be present in cabinet meet, as he has three functions to attend in Madurai.
Also proposed to being renamed are two other airports -- Rajhansi International Airport at Amritsar as Guru Ramdassjee International Airport, and the International Civil Air Terminal Complex proposed to be set up near Chandigarh as Sahid-e-Azam Sardar Bhagat Singh International Airport, Mohali.
Guru Ramdassjee is the fourth Sikh Guru, who founded the city of Amritsar while Thevar is hailed as one of the first votaries calling for Independence back in 1930s.
As many as 27 airports have been renamed in the past like Ahmedabad airport after Vallabhbhai Patel, Patna airport after Jayaprakash Narayan, Hyderabad as NT Ramarao Airport Bhubaneshwar as Biju Patnaik Airport, Ranchi as Birsa Munda airport, Udaipur as Maharana Pratap Airport and Indore as Ahilyabai Holkar airport.