The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its approval for declaration of Kushinagar Airport in Uttar Pradesh as an international airport, stating that it will offer improved connectivity to the important Buddhist pilgrimage site.
"You know that Kushinagar is the mid-point of the Buddhist circuit. It has pilgrimage sites in Lumbini, Shravasti, Kapilvastu nearby it. A little farther, it has sites in Sarnath and Gaya," Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar told the media after a Cabinet meeting today.
The Cabinet also said that the international status to the airport will result in boosting of domestic/international tourism and economic development of the regions. It will be an important strategic location with the international border close by.
"However, there was no airport there of international standards. Kushinagar airport is being declared as an international airport. A 3-km-long runway strip has already been made. Now, even a big aircraft of Airbus can land at the airport," he added in the meeting.
Kushinagar is located in the north-eastern part of Uttar Pradesh about 50 km east of Gorakhpur and is one of the important Buddhist pilgrimage sites.
Several other Buddhist sites are present near Kushinagar like Sravasti (238 km), Kapilvastu (190 km) and Lumbini (195 km) and that makes it an attraction for both followers and visitors alike, the government said.