West Bengal names airport after Nazrul Islam
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has christened the airport at Andal near Durgapur in Bardhman, some 100 km from Kolkata, as Kazi Nazrul Islam International Airport, after the Bengali poet, musician and revolutionary.
While inaugurating the airport on Thursday, the Chief Minister said commercial operations at the airport were expected to start early next year.
The airport has been named after Bangladesh's national poet as he was born in Churulia village in the same district, Bardhaman.
The poet's daughter-in-law Kalyani Kazi shared the stage with the Chief Minister at Thursday's event.
The airport, the first privately built greenfield facility in the region, will probably be among the few in the world to be named after a poet.
On June 13, 2006, the airport at Granada, in Spain was officially named after the poet Federico García Lorca who was from the city. In addition, the José Joaquin de Olmedo International Airport, in Guayaquil city in Ecuador, is named after Ecuadorean poet José Joaquin de Olmedo.
The Mytilene International Airport in Greece is also referred to as Odysseas Elytis, after the Greek poet and Nobel Laureate.
"The Kazi Nazrul Islam airport is a landmark achievement. This will mark the beginning of a new era for Bengal as an investment destination," Banerjee said at the event.
The 650-acre airport is the nucleus of the airport city project that will also house an integrated township and an industrial and logistics hub. The township with contain residential blocks, hospitals, schools, markets, hotels, sporting venues, shops, offices and retail centers.
The Aerotropolis project is expected to draw investment of Rs 12,000 crore (roughly Tk 15,000 crore) and provide 40,000 direct and indirect employment opportunities. When complete, it will be home to nearly 15,000 people.
Banerjee had in May this year sent a proposal to officials of Bengal Aerotropolis Limited to name the upcoming airport after Kazi Nazrul Islam, also known as "Bidrohi Kabi'.
"We have already proposed to name the upcoming airport near Durgapur as Kazi Nazrul Islam International Airport," read the Chief Minister's Facebook post, a day before the poet's 114th birth anniversary.
The Aerotropolis authorities had earlier proposed three names—Satyajit Ray, Rabindranath Tagore and Bidhan Chandra Roy—for the airport.
"Kazi Nazrul Islam, the national poet of Bangladesh, is our pride and asset. His nationalistic creations live on and inspire us and generations to come," the Chief Minister had posted on Facebook.
"The state government is also setting up the Kazi Nazrul Islam University at Churulia in Asansol and courses would start from academic year 2013-14," the Chief Minister had also mentioned in her post.