KUSHINAGAR: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday inaugurated Uttar Pradesh’s ninth airport and third international airport in Kushinagar district. The airport will soon start direct flight service between national capital New Delhi, financial capital Mumbai and Kolkata. Built at the cost of Rs 260 crore with the state’s longest runway of 3200 meters, the airport received its first flight from Srilanka with over 100 delegations including Buddhist monks and pilgrims. Speaking on the occasion, PM said, “India has been the spiritual and inspiration center for followers of Buddhism. The facility of Kushinagar international airport is a way of showing respect for their devotion. This land of Gautam Buddh is now directly connected to the world and landing of Sri Lankan airline at the airport is like greeting it.” “Fortunately, today is Maharishi Valmiki Jayanti as well and by his inspiration, with the efforts of all, the country is working for the welfare of all. This international airport is the result of decades of expectations and wishes. As a curious spiritual person and representative of Purvanchal, there is satisfaction within me for fulfilling the commitment,” said Modi. “Country is giving special attention to developing Buddhist circuit. The development of Kushinagar is among the priority of the state and the central government. Sarnath, Shravasti, Bodh Gaya, Lumbini, Vaishali, Rajgir and Sankisa are a few hours away from Kushinagar, therefore apart from Indian followers of Buddhism, this area is going to be important for people of Srilanka, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and other countries for spirituality and tourism,” he said while addressing from airport premises. “The Kushinagar airport will help in the development of a business-oriented ecosystem. Tourism, travel business such as taxis, hotels and others will benefit and will further create job opportunities for youth. Soon the airport will be directly connected with New Delhi,” Modi said. “With Kushinagar, now the state has nine airports including three internationals while work on Jewar international airport is under development. Apart from these airports are also being developed in Ayodhya, Aligarh, Azamgarh, Chitrakoot, Moradabad and Shravasti. This will strengthen the state air connectivity,” said the prime minister. While, union civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya M Scindia said, “By November 26, direct flight between Delhi and Kushinagar will be operational, while from December 18 direct flights will also operate for Mumbai and Kolkata from land of Buddh.” He said, “In total 17 airports will be there in new emerging Uttar Pradesh.” Reiterating the same CM Yogi Adityanath said, “In UP, 11 more airports are being developed including two international airports are being developed including at Ayodhya and Jewar.” Further, the PM Modi in his speech said, “In last few years the country has emphasized on air connectivity in those distant remote locations, where no one had even imagined. In the last four years under the Udan Yojana, 900 new routes have been approved out of which 350 routes are operational. More than 50 defunct airports have been reinstated. In the next four years, we will try to develop over 200 airports, heliport and seaplane water networks in the country. According to union civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya M Scindia, since independence, there were 64 airports in the country, but in the last seven years of the Modi regime, the country has added 54 new airports, taking the total figure up to 128. Emphasizing on civil use of defence run airports, PM Modi said, ”At five airports eight new pilot training academies are going to be set up. Rules for training at airports have been made easy. Further, an ecosystem is being developed for drone manufacturing, operating in the country for purposes like agriculture, health, disaster management and defence.”

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