By Prateek Sharma in LUCKNOW: While inaugurating the newly constructed airport at Kushinagar, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said work to develop 11 new airports in the state is on. This includes one international airport in Ayodhya and another megaproject in Jewar.
Yogi Adityanath government has not only constructed highways and expressways in the state and given robust road connectivity, but his government has aggressively worked in ensuring better air connectivity in the state.
Some aviation experts say that Yogi Adityanath is a visionary who is working on transport infrastructure to pull more foreign investors and generate more jobs and revenue.
Giving out details of air connectivity in the state, Yogi Adityanath said the state’s air connectivity is being improved, which will provide a boost to development.
He said from 1947 until 2014 just two airports in UP were operational – one in Lucknow and the other in Varanasi – and the state’s connectivity was limited to roughly 16 cities. “But today, the Kushinagar airport has become operational as the state’s ninth airport, whereas airports in UP have direct air connectivity with 75 major cities,” Yogi said.
BOOSTING BUDDHIST TOURISTS
The majority of Buddhist sites are in Uttar Pradesh. With the growth of the road network and air connections, the PM has realised the Buddhist circuit’s ambition.
As a Buddhist pilgrimage site, Kushinagar is extremely important. It is thought to be Gautam Buddha’s ultimate resting place, and it is an important part of a Buddhist tourism circuit that includes Lumbini in Nepal, Sarnath, and Bodhgaya.
International airports serve both Sarnath (near Varanasi) and Bodhgaya, which attract a considerable number of pilgrims, mostly from Southeast Asian countries. Both domestic and international travellers are likely to benefit from this new airport’s seamless connectivity.
The airport was built at a cost of Rs 260 crore (roughly $34.7 million) and features a 3.2-kilometre-long runway, making it the longest in the state of Uttar Pradesh. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has constructed a terminal with a capacity of 300 passengers per hour, and the airport’s taxiway and apron are also functioning.
With regard to the UDAN scheme, Yogi stated that PM Narendra Modi’s goal with the project was to ensure that even those wearing ‘hawai chappals’ (slippers) could travel by air, which was made feasible by better air connectivity.
Jyotiraditya M Scindia, the Union Minister for Civil Aviation, praised the pace of airport construction in Uttar Pradesh and said that the government expects to build 17 additional airports in the near future.
Prayagraj, Kanpur, and, more recently, Bareilly are among the airports in the region that have begun to see regular flights.
Many more airports are now being built in Uttar Pradesh, according to a senior government official. Aligarh, Azamgarh, Moradabad, Shravasti, Chitrakoot Dham, Saharanpur, Noida, and Ayodhya are among them.
Noida and Ayodhya will become international airports, bringing the state’s total number of international airports to five. The Noida airport (in the town of Jewar) will be significant because, in addition to IGI Airport and the regional civilian enclave at Hindon, it will serve the Delhi NCR region.