-Dr Shakti Kumar Pandey
After Ayodhya Airport UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath now focuses on Chitrakoot Airport, thus covering the first phase of Ram-Van-Gaman route.
After initiating the construction of a full-fledged airport in Ayodhya to enable landing of big aircraft and to boost religious tourism, the Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has issued directives to accelerate the expansion of the airstrip and construction of the airport terminal at Chitrakoot.
At the chief minister's directions, the airport of Chitrakoot will be developed as the most beautiful airport of the country and it is expected to be functional soon.
The development of Chitrakoot airport will promote religious tourism in the state and support the Bundelkhand region on the path of progress.
The UP chief minister, emphasising on the importance of converting Bundelkhand into a hub of development and tourism, views the development of Chitrakoot airport as extremely crucial to preserve and revive the region.
The 296-km Bundelkhand Expressway, which is under construction, starts from Chitrakoot.
Under the chief minister's ambitious scheme to promote regional connectivity in the state, the airport in Chitrakoot is being developed.
As the name suggests, the runway of the airport is located on an elevated terrain amidst the Vindhya Range and is being expanded as the most beautiful airport as it will encompass nature at its best.
The airport, built on approximately 260 acres of land, will be expanded with a 1,475-metre-long and 23-metre-wide runway. The work on the new terminal, apron, air traffic controller and a car parking is started.
To ensure the development work progresses rapidly with no interruptions, the government has issued a sum of Rs 50 crore out of the allocated amount of Rs 92 crores for this project.
The projects undertaken by the government to boost regional connectivity are supervised by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and state Civil Aviation Department Secretary Surendra Singh.
Ayodhya, Prayagraj and Kanpur are expected to be the first cities to be connected with air services from Chitrakoot.
The UP government came out with its new civil aviation policy in 2017. It aimed at promoting overall development of the civil aviation sector in UP and generating greater business and employment opportunities.
Three-and-a-half years ago, the state had only four active airports namely Lucknow, Agra, Varanasi and Gorakhpur.
But now Prayagraj, Kanpur, Hindon and Bareilly are ready for passenger aircraft, while airports at Azamgarh, Aligarh, Chitrakoot, Moradabad, Sonbhadra, Shravasti, Ayodhya, Kushinagar and Saharanpur (Sarsawan) are under construction.
Once all the 17 airports become functional, UP will get a connectivity boost, upswing in tourism and employment.
Flights from Bareilly and Pantnagar to Prayagraj are also likely to be started in the near future.
As a future plan, the airports at Meerut, Jhansi and Ghazipur will also come up to add to civil aviation infrastructure of the state.
Noida International Airport will be developed by Switzerland's private company Zurich Airport International, while the project's development will be monitored by NIAL, a nodal agency floated by the government of UP