Hyderabad, Nov 21: The move by the civil aviation ministry to name the domestic terminal at the Rajiv Gandhi international airport after former Andhra Pradesh chief minister N.T. Rama Rao has sparked a row, with the Telangana assembly on Friday passing a resolution to urge the centre to maintain status quo.
The resolution moved by Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao called upon the ministry to reconsider the decision as it was taken without consulting the state government.
Terming the issue "sensitive", KCR, as the chief minister is popularly known, said the centre's unilateral action was an insult to Telangana.
"The Telangana legislative assembly expresses its displeasure over the naming of the domestic terminal after NTR by dividing the existing Rajiv Gandhi International Airport at Hyderabad.
"The assembly objects to the manner in which the central government took the decision without even consulting the Telangana government," the resolution said.
"The assembly resolves requesting the central government to reconsider its decision and continue status quo," said the resolution, which was passed with a voice vote amid a protest by the opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and its ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Civil Aviation Minister P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju, who belongs to the TDP, Thursday said N.T. Rama Rao's name has been restored for the domestic terminal while the airport will continue to be called Rajiv Gandhi international airport.
NTR, as the TDP founder was popularly known, was the chief minister of united Andhra Pradesh between 1983 and 1989 and also during 1994-95.
KCR moved the resolution after a meeting of floor leaders called by Speaker Madhusudana Chari on his suggestion.
There was a heated debate when the main opposition Congress raised the issue and said the Centre's move symbolised continuing dominance of Seemandhra people over Telangana.
KCR said discussion in the house was not about naming the terminal after NTR but about naming it after a leader from a neighbouring state.
"We have all the respect for NTR," he said but felt that if at all the Centre wanted to name the domestic terminal, it should have named after a leader from Telangana like late former prime minister P.V. Narasimha Rao.
The TDP and the BJP defended the move of the civil aviation ministry. TDP leader E. Dayakar Rao said the central government has only restored the name of the domestic terminal.
He recalled that the airport had its domestic terminal named after NTR when it was operational at Begumpet in the city but the Congress government removed NTR's name when the new airport was inaugurated at Shamsabad near the city in 2008.
When the airport was in the city, it was known as Hyderabad airport. Its international terminal was named after Rajiv Gandhi but the domestic terminal had NTR's name.