Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the Kushinagar International Airport on October 20, informed the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) on Monday.
According to the PMO, Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Union Minister for Civil Aviation Jyotiraditya Scindia will also be present at the inauguration among others.
The International Airport will get operational this week to ease cumbersome travel of earlier times and facilitate the air travel requirements of International Buddhist pilgrims in India, said the PMO.
It further stated that the inaugural flight will land at the airport from Colombo, Sri Lanka carrying 125 dignitaries and Buddhist Monks, highlighting the convenience to Buddhists across the world to visit the MahaparinirvanaSthal of Lord Buddha.
The Airports Authority of India, in its continuous endeavour to upgrade airport infrastructure in the country, has developed the Kushinagar Airport with a new terminal building spread across 3600sqm, at an estimated cost of Rs 260 crore in association with Govt. of Uttar Pradesh considering the demand of the domestic and international visitors and pilgrimage.
The new terminal is equipped to handle 300 passengers during peak hours. Kushinagar is an International Buddhist Pilgrimage Centre, where LordGautam Buddha attained Mahaparinirvana. It is also the centre point of the Buddhist circuit, which consists of pilgrimage sites at Lumbini, Sarnath and Gaya.
The airport will help in attracting more followers of Buddhism from home and abroad to Kushinagar and will enhance the development of a Buddhist theme-based circuit. The journey of Lumbini, Bodhgaya, Sarnath, Kushinagar, Shravasti, Rajgir, Sankisa and Vaishali of the Buddhist circuit will be covered in lesser time.
Inauguration of the Kushinagar Airport will facilitate the pilgrims from across different parts of the world by providing seamless connectivity to various Buddhist sites in the region. Direct aviation connectivity with South Asian countries will make it easier for tourists arriving from Sri Lanka, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore etc to reach Kushinagar and experience the rich heritage of the region. Tourism inflow is expected to rise by up to 20 per cent with the inauguration of the flight.
The Kushinagar International Airport will not only put the pilgrimage site on International Aviation Map but also give a boost to the economic development of the region. It will have a multiplier effect on the hospitality industry by promoting hotel business, tourism agencies, restaurants etc. It will create employment for local people by opening an immense amount of opportunities in feeder transport services, local guide jobs etc. Local industry and products will get global recognition. It will promote cultural awareness and will also help to preserve local culture and traditions.
The development of the airport at Kushinagar will help in developing Kushinagar as one of the four principal places of Buddhist Pilgrimage. It will help to impart Kushinagar the pre-eminence it deserves as part of the Buddhist Circuit. Further, it will lead to the development of India as the original Buddhist centre and the spread of principles of Buddhism across the world.
The airport will serve a population of more than two crores since the airport has a hinterland of around10-15 Districts and will be a great support for the large migrant population of Eastern Uttar Pradesh and Western / Northern Part of Bihar. This will also boost the opportunities for the export of horticultural products like bananas, strawberries and mushrooms. (ANI)