The airport has been built at an estimated cost of Rs 260 crore and will facilitate domestic and international pilgrims to visit the 'mahaparinirvana' site of Lord Buddha.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday inaugurated the Kushinagar International Airport, which is an endeavour to connect Buddhist pilgrimage sites around the world.
“Kushinagar International Airport is the 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 said at the inauguration event.
“Kushinagar International Airport won’t just be mode of air connectivity. Be it farmers, animal keepers, shopkeepers, workers, local industrialists-it’ll benefit all. It’ll create ecosystem of business. Tourism will get maximum benefit, it’ll generate employment for youth here,” he added.
This is the third international airport in Uttar Pradesh. At present, two international airports – Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport at Lucknow and Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport at Varanasi — are operational in the state while another one is coming up at Jewar in Gautam Budh Nagar.
The inauguration of the Kushinagar International Airport was marked by the landing of the inaugural flight at the airport from Colombo, Sri Lanka, led by Sri Lankan Minister Namal Rajapaksa, son of PM Mahinda Rajapaksa, carrying a Sri Lankan delegation of over 100 Buddhist monks and dignitaries including the 12-member holy relic entourage bringing the holy Buddha relics for exposition.
The airport has been built at an estimated cost of Rs 260 crore and will facilitate domestic and international pilgrims to visit the ‘mahaparinirvana’ site of Lord Buddha and is an endeavour to connect the Buddhist pilgrimage holy sites around the world, it added. The airport will serve nearby districts of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and is an important step in boosting investment and employment opportunities in the region.
PM Modi will also visit the Mahaparinirvana Temple and pay his respects to the reclining statue of Lord Buddha and also plant a Bodhi tree sapling.
He will participate in an event, organised to mark ‘abhidhamma’ day which symbolises the end of three-month rainy retreat- ‘varshavaas’ or ‘vassa’- for the Buddhist monks during which they stay at one place in vihara and monastery and pray. The event will also be attended by eminent monks from Sri Lanka, Thailand, Myanmar, South Korea, Nepal, Bhutan and Cambodia, as well as ambassadors of various countries.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Tuesday said the start of an international airport in Kushinagar will bring immense employment and tourism opportunities in East Uttar Pradesh. “The airport will bring immense employment and tourism opportunities and Kushinagar is eager to welcome Sri Lankan delegates and PM Modi on Wednesday. We will be able to send the message of international friendship and compassion to Lord Buddha, all over the world.” he said.
The CM said, “UP is fortunate that it will get third international airport from PM Modi and the new airport here is going to play a vital role in the development of East UP and West Bihar. A big part of friend country Nepal will also be benefited.”