Highlights:

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated Kushinagar International Airport in Uttar Pradesh
  • The Prime Minister stressed that the airport will boost economic activity and tourism in the region
  • Chief Minister of the state Yogi Adityanath opined that the new airport is a flight of development for the people of Uttar Pradesh

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated Kushinagar International Airport in Uttar Pradesh. The airport will serve as a connection to nearly eight Buddhist sites in India. Referring to the first flight from Sri Lanka that reached the airport with more than 100 Buddhist monks and dignitaries on board, Modi remarked the flight landing was akin to paying obeisance to the revered land.

Kushinagar is known to be a sacred Buddhist site, where Lord Buddha is believed to have delivered his last sermon and attained salvation or Mahaparinirvana. PM Modi expressed, “It (airport) is a result of hopes and aspirations of decades.” He continued that as a parliamentary representative from the region, he feels a sense of accomplishment on the completion of the project.

Mentioning the importance of the new airport, the Prime Minister stated that it will serve as an important link to eight sites of religious significance to Buddhists from across the world. He added, “Kapilavastu and Sarnath are nearby as is Bodh Gaya where he (Lord Buddha) gained enlightenment. These are places of reverence for people from Laos, Korea, Sri Lanka, Japan, Indonesia among others.”

The Prime Minister stressed that the airport will boost economic activity and tourism in the region. He noted that farmers, entrepreneurs and a host of other people will benefit from the connectivity provided by the new airport. He emphasized that the airport will establish an ecosystem of economy, tourism and create avenues of employment.”

Accentuating on the need to build roads, airways and waterways along with hotels, Internet for boosting tourism, he stated, “Whether it is aastha or ananda (faith or pleasure), modern infrastructure is a prerequisite.” He informed that the Union government is working to augment air connectivity and nearly 900 new routes that have been approved in the past seven years.

Modi noted that amid improved services, the middle and ordinary class people are using air services, “In UP (Uttar Pradesh), nine new airports have become operational. There will be newer airports in Ayodhya, Azamgarh, Moradabad, Shrawasti, Aligarh…soon.” He further hailed the vaccination programme, saying it will give confidence to travellers coming to India.

Chief Minister of the state Yogi Adityanath opined that the new airport is a flight of development for the people of Uttar Pradesh. He recalled that from 1947- 2014, the state had only two functional airports in Lucknow and Varanasi. He added, “Connectivity was only for 15 or 16 places. Now we have nine functional airports and will be connected to 75 places. Construction of an international Airport is on at war-footing in Ayodhya and the second one in Gautam Buddha Nagar.”

The Union aviation minister affirmed that direct flights will be enabled four times a week between Delhi and Kushinagar from November 26. He noted that the airport will then be connected with Mumbai and Kolkata too. He further disclosed details on how the project was accelerated from the allocation of land to airport construction.

He added, “In 70 years, only 34 airports were functional but in seven years, the number has risen to 181 airports. There is an old saying `Modi Hai to mumkin hai.”

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