New Delhi/Lucknow: The state government of the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh has floated the idea of an international airport at Kushinagar in order to boost tourism and regional development on the 'Buddhist circuit'. The 'circuit' would cover Sarnath, Kushinagar, Sankisa, Kaushambi, Shravasti and Kapilvastu.
All these small cities are historical sites associated with the life of Gautam Buddha, from whom the religion draws its name. These destinations are expected to attract pilgrims and backpackers from all over the world, especially Japan and south-east Asian countries, where Buddhism is the dominant religion.
The state government says that the immense potential of the circuit still remains to be unlocked due to lack of infrastructure facilities and general government apathy.
The state government has invited bids from reputed consultancy firms for preparing a comprehensive project report for an integrated development of the Buddhist circuit in the public-private partnership (PPP) mode on a design-build-finance-operate-transfer (DBFOT) basis. They will also prepare bid documents and a concession agreement for the development of an international airport at Kushinagar. The last date for submitting bids is 22 August. The winning firm will also officiate as project management consultant.
Currently only an air strip exists in Kushinagar, which is used during an emergency. There is a small airport in the nearby district of Gorakhpur.
The state tourism department will hold a pre-bid discussion on 18 August for interested parties to seek clarification or information regarding the bid.