Issue of airport development in Kota heated up in Rajasthan elections, allegations and counter-allegations between BJP and Congress

quota : With the campaign gaining momentum in the Rajasthan Assembly elections, the demand for development of an airport in Kota seems to be heating up. But, Congress and BJP are blaming each other for not realizing this development project. Kota has a small airport, but due to lack of regular flight services, only VIP or special aircraft land there. This issue has made its place in the campaign especially in Kota North seat.

Clash between Gehlot-Vasundhara loyalists in Kota

In Kota, Shanti Dhariwal, a confidant of Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, is contesting against Vasundhara Raje loyalist and BJP leader Prahlad Gunjal. A regular airport serving commercial flights has been a long-standing demand and the issue inevitably figures in election campaigns. It was also an election issue in the 2018 assembly elections and 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Kota is the hub of engineering-medical studies

More than two lakh students come to Kota every year to prepare for the engineering and medical entrance exams JEE and NEET. Many of them travel from far-flung areas and in the absence of a regular airport here, they have to come to Kota via New Delhi, Jaipur or Udaipur. Sarina Sandeep, a student from Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, who is preparing for competitive exams here, said that students from all over the country come to Kota. Some come from very distant states and from where it takes a lot of time to travel. This facility (airport) should be in Kota.

Students take a lot of time to go to Kota

A student preparing for engineering exams said that if we have to go home, we can go early and come back without wasting time. There are very few holidays here. If there is a regular airport, our time will be saved. Rajendra Singh, a parent from Shahdol, Madhya Pradesh, said that train connectivity is good, but sometimes there is only one day’s time in which to meet the child and return and in such a situation, if there is air service, a lot of time can be saved. Praveen Kumar Singh, parent of another student resident of Patna, also said that a lot of time is wasted due to train travel, there should be facility of air service from Kota.

Rajasthan government did not give land: BJP

When asked about this issue, BJP candidate from Kota North, Prahlad Gunjal, claimed that the land which was to be given to the state after approval has not been given. He alleged that it was the responsibility of the state government. Wherever airports are built, the state government provides land. The state government did not fulfill its responsibility properly. They can say anything, but the state government is responsible for this.

Congress targeted BJP

Shanti Dhariwal, sitting MLA from Kota North and cabinet minister in the Ashok Gehlot government, criticized the BJP on the issue and held the Center responsible for stopping the project. Earlier in September, Gehlot had blamed the Center for the delay in the construction of the proposed greenfield airport in Kota. He had also accused Lok Sabha Speaker and local MP Om Birla of not playing a positive role in the development of the airport out of fear that the credit for it would go to the state Congress government. Claiming that the state government is committed to building the airport, Gehlot had said that the Urban Improvement Trust (Kota) has transferred 34 hectares of land to the Airport Authority of India free of cost.

Center has not started work on the project: Shanti Dhariwal

Cabinet Minister Shanti Dhariwal had alleged that the first installment of Rs 21.13 crore for ‘diversion’ of forest land was also released to the Forest Department, but despite this the Center did not start work on the project. Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia had hit back, saying the Rajasthan government’s “erratic response and slow pace of handing over land” had delayed the process of developing an airport in Kota.

Leave a Comment