Cabinet approves international airport at Kushinagar; move will bring better opportunities for locals, says Narendra Modi

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday gave its approval for declaring Kushinagar airport in Uttar Pradesh as an international airport in a bid to improve connectivity to the important Buddhist site.

FP Staff June 24, 2020 19:13:36 IST
Cabinet approves international airport at Kushinagar; move will bring better opportunities for locals, says Narendra Modi

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday gave its approval for declaring Kushinagar airport in Uttar Pradesh as an international airport in a bid to improve connectivity to the important Buddhist site.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi lauded the announcement, saying as it would boost connectivity and also bring additional opportunities for locals.

According to news agency PTI, Union environment minister Prakash Javadekar, during a press briefing after the Cabinet meeting, drew attention to the importance of Kushinagar in the Buddhist circuit.

He said that Kushinagar is the mid-point of the Buddhist circuit. The minsiter said that while pilgrimage sites like Lumbini, Shravasti  and Kapilvastu are nearby, and  Sarnath and Gaya just a little father, there was no airport of international standards.

"Kushinagar airport is being declared as an international airport. A three-kilometre-long runway strip has already been made. Now, even a big aircraft of Airbus can land at the airport," he added.

Cabinet approves international airport at Kushinagar move will bring better opportunities for locals says Narendra Modi

Union minister Prakash Javadekar during Cabinet briefing. ANI

The Central Government in a statement issued later reiterated the importance of  Kushinagar, where Gautama Buddha attained Mahaparinirvana after his death, as a Buddhist pilgrimage site. It added that around 200-300 devotees from Thailand, Cambodia, Japan, Myanmar, etc, come to offer prayers at Kushinagar on any given day.

"However, this international tourist destination has no direct connectivity, which has been a long pending demand of the visitors," it said.

The "Buddhist Circuit" is a key pilgrimage destination for 530 million practising Buddhists across the globe, the statement noted.

The presence of several other Buddhist sites such as Sravasti (238 km), Kapilvastu (190 km) and Lumbini (195 km) near Kushinagar makes it an attraction for both followers and visitors alike, the government added.

"Hence, the declaration of Kushinagar airport as an 'International Airport' will offer improved connectivity, wider choice of services at competitive costs to the air-travellers resulting in boosting of domestic/international tourism and economic development of the region," it added.

"The international airport is expected to boost the already growing tourism and hospitality ecosystem in the country," it noted.

According to ANI, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath thanked Modi and said that tourism would be boosted as the airport was located close to important tourist sites.

Minister of State for Sports Kiren Rijiju also thanked the prime minister and said that that the airport would enable Buddhist pilgrims to visit Kushinagar and also bring benefits to local people.

Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan said that the move would enable Buddhist pilgrims and tourists to avail of world-class facilities.

With inputs from agencies

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