Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday to inaugurate the Kushinagar international airport. According to Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), the inauguration will be marked by landing of inaugural flight at the airport from Colombo carrying Sri lankan delegation of over 100 Buddhist monks and dignitaries, including a 12-member holy relic entourage.
The Prime Minister will also participate in an event marking Abhidhamma Day at Mahaparinirvana Temple, said the PMO. Later in the day, he will attend a public function to inaugurate and lay the foundation stone of various development projects in Kushinagar.
Kushinagar is the place where Gautam Buddha attained Mahaparinirvana. It is an international Buddhist pilgrimage centre, the centre point of the Buddhist circuit, which consists of other sites at Lumbini, Sarnath and Gaya.
Uttar Pradesh governor Anandiben Patel, chief minister Yogi Adityanath and Union minister for Civil Aviation Jyotiraditya Scindia will also be present at the inauguration ceremony 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.
Tourism inflow is expected to rise by up to 20 per cent with the inauguration of the flight.
The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has developed the Kushinagar airport with a new terminal building spread across 3600sqm, at an estimated cost of ₹260 crore in association with the government 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.
The airport will serve a population of more than two crores since the airport has a hinterland of around 10-15 districts and will be a great support for the large migrant population of Eastern Uttar Pradesh and Western/Northern parts of Bihar, said the PMO. This will also boost the opportunities for the export of horticultural products like bananas, strawberries and mushrooms, it added.