In a huge makeover of the eastern Uttar Pradesh's image, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Tuesday announced the start of international flights from Kushinagar airport by Diwali.
Also known as Padrauna airport, it is situated in Kushinagar district, around 52 km east of Gorakhpur, the home turf of Chief Minister Adityanath.
The Union Cabinet, in its meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had, in June this year, decided to recognise Khushinagar as an international airport, the 29th in the country and fourth in Uttar Pradesh, including the upcoming Jewar airport.
Dwelling upon the strategic importance of the Kushinagar airport, located close to the international border, Chief Minister Adityanath, in a statement, said this entire region is part of "Buddha Circuit" and this facility will increase the inflow of foreign tourists.
He said there is an immense potential of tourism in the eastern UP region and so, officials have been directed to prepare an action plan in consultation with public representatives to showcase it as an international tourist hub.
Amid a growing number of youths from Bihar and eastern UP flying to various Gulf countries for employment, this airport would also become handy to them in reaching their destinations, an official said.
In his statement, the Chief Minister also announced his decision to celebrate the upcoming centenary of the 1922 Chauri Chaura movement with fanfare.
The incident involving freedom struggle had taken place at Chauri Chaura in Gorakhpur district on February 4, 1922, when a large group of protesters, participating in the non-cooperation movement, had clashed with police, which had opened fire on them, killing three civilians.
The demonstrators in retaliation attacked and set afire the Chauri Chaura police station, killing all its 22 occupants. Following the violence in Chauri Chaura, Mahatma Gandhi had halted his nationwide non-cooperation movement.
The chief minister made the two crucial announcements while reviewing the developmental projects of the Gorakhpur division, comprising eastern UP districts of Gorakhpur, Deoria, Kushinagar and Maharajganj.
Public representatives of all districts were present in the meeting presided over by the Chief Minister through video conferencing.
The CM also interacted with the representatives and received their feedback on developmental projects in their constituencies.
Mr Adityanath also directed officials to make an integrated action plan to devise a permanent solution to the nagging flood menace in the eastern part of the state.
He asked officials to undertake dredging of rivers in the region to extract dual benefit -- relief from floods and availability of sand which will fetch revenue for the district administration.
He said his government has controlled the Japanese Encephalitis (JE) and Acute Respiratory Syndrome (AES) to a great extent.
He also said pure water is the key to effective control over JE and other communicable diseases.
"Make a project for house-to-house water supply in every JE-affected village," he said.