Will work towards building network of 200 airports: PM Modi in Kushinagar
- The Kushinagar International Airport has been built at an estimated cost of Rs. 260 crore.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday that efforts will be directed towards building a network of over 200 airports, heliports and water domes in the nation in the next 3-4 years. He made the remarks at the inauguration ceremony of the Kushinagar International airport, which is being touted as a key move to boost Buddhist pilgrimage circuit around the world. The inauguration of the airport was marked by the landing of a flight from Colombo (Sri Lanka), carrying a Sri Lankan delegation of over a hundred Buddhist monks and dignitaries.
The Prime Minister arrived in Uttar Pradesh today, for the inauguration of the airport and launching of key projects. Kushinagar, among the most important pilgrim spots for Buddhists, is the final resting place of Gautama Buddha where he attained Mahaparinirvana after his death.
Addressing the event, PM Modi said that the airport is a result of decades of hopes and expectations. “My happiness is two-fold today. As curious about the spiritual journey, I've a sense of satisfaction. As a representative of Purvanchal area, it is time for the fulfilment of a commitment,” he added. PM Modi further informed Indian airline SpiceJet is starting a direct flight between Delhi and Kushinagar in a matter of weeks. Among those present at the ceremony were Union minister of civil aviation Jyotiraditya Scindia, Uttar Pradesh governor Anandiben Patel, chief minister Yogi Adityanath and other dignitaries.
Meanwhile, Sri Lankan sports minister Namal Rajapaksa appreciated PM Modi's “gesture” of inviting Srilankan airlines to be the first international carrier at Kushinagar airport. "It (Kushinagar International Airport) is a great gesture of PM Modi and especially inviting Srilankan airlines to be the first international carrier to land at Kushinagar International Airport," Namal Rajapaksa, who arrived in Uttar Pradesh with a delegation of monks, said. The representatives from all major countries practising Buddhism were present at the Kushinagar inauguration function, including those from Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, Bhutan, Thailand and Nepal.
The Kushinagar International airport has been built at an estimated cost of ₹260 crore and will facilitate domestic and international pilgrims to visit the Mahaparinirvana sthal of Lord Buddha. The endeavour will connect the Buddhist pilgrimage holy sites around the world and also boost the investment and employment opportunities in the region. The Union Cabinet gave its approval for the declaration of Kushinagar airport in Uttar Pradesh as an International Airport in June 2020.