Kushinagar International Airport, UP, India

New International Airport is proposed in the one of the four holy places declared by the Buddha to be fit. The land required for the airport site is cultivable land and the farmers were not willing to give their land for the project.


The plan for building an international airport in Kushinagar was conceived in 2008, under the rule of Mayawati as the Chief Minister. Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh is an important Buddhist pilgrimage site where the body of Gautama Buddha was cremated. It became one of the four holy places declared by the Buddha to be fit places for pilgrimage [1]. The place is mainly connected by the road. Although, there was already an old airstrip, spanning 97 acres in Kushingar, which handled small aircrafts, it was not enough to meet increasing volume of tourists from across the world. The government had hence taken a decision to develop an international airport in the city [2]. This airport would consist a runway of about 3,200 metres, so that it could even handle Boeing 747 flights from Saudi Arabia, Korea and Japan and cater the entire region spread across UP, Bihar and Nepal [6].

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Basic Data
NameKushinagar International Airport, UP, India
ProvinceUttar Pradesh
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Land acquisition conflicts
Ports and airport projects
Specific CommoditiesAirport expansion. Pilgrimage.
Tourism services
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe initial total project cost of developing an aviation hub at Kushinagar was pegged at Rs 850 crore in 2010. However, later on it was changed to be an international airport, and the project cost came down to Rs. 354 crore.

This would be the country’s first airport, where the Centre had given in-principle approval for viability gap funding (VGF) of 20 per cent. Additional 20 per cent grant has also been committed from the state government.

Hence, the total permissible VGF grant is 40 per cent of the project cost, which comes to about Rs 170 crore.

The government is aiming to develop a runway of about 3,200 metres, so that it could even handle Boeing 747 flights from Saudi Arabia, Korea and Japan and cater the entire region spread across UP, Bihar and Nepal. In November 2017, the chief minister Yogi Adityanath released nearly Rs 200 crore funds of the fast development of the airport.
Project Area (in hectares)222,577
Level of Investment (in USD)400,000,000
Type of PopulationRural
Start Date2010
Company Names or State EnterprisesIL&FS Infrastructure Development Company Limited from India - as project consultant
M/s India Aviation Consulting & Support from India - they are the Aviation consultants for preparation of Technical Feasibility Report and Master Plan for the proposed Airport
M/s SENES India Pvt. Ltd from India - they are the Environmental Impact Assessment EIA experts responsible for facilitating IL&FS IDC undertaking EIA studies and EIA clearance
Relevant government actorsGovernment of Uttar Pradesh, Planning Commission, Government of India, Department of Economic Affairs, Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Airport Authority of India
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersOne former member of state legislature & Local Villagers
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LOW (some local organising)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Landless peasants
Local government/political parties
Forms of MobilizationPublic campaigns
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusUnder construction
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCompensation
Institutional changes
Negotiated alternative solution
New legislation
Strengthening of participation
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.The land required for the airport site is cultivable and the farmers who own the land are not willing to part with it. It is their only source of livelihood. Farmers from two villages fear losing their land and homes to the airport site. Farmers from six more villages may lose their cultivable land. Farmers alleged that the compensation that the government is giving is not sufficient to buy land at other places. The farmers cannot be deprived of their only asset and left landless [2]

As of 2018, the airport is under construction on a fast-track basis, with additional funds being released by the state government, and is supposed to be operational by mid-2018.
Sources and Materials

National Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy
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[2] Farmers protest against acquisition of land for international airport in Kushinaga
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[3] Kushinagar Airport project back on runway
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[4] Kushinagar in UP to have international airport
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[5] Protests put UP projects on the backburner
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UP government plans international airport in Kushinagar
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[1] Development of International Airport at Kushinagar, Uttar Pradesh on A PPP Format Project Information Memorandum
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[6] Kushinanagar international airport to get ready for takeoff. Newspaper article from 2013.
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[7] Decision to change the model of airport construction from private partnership to partnership betweent the state government and Airport Authority of India
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[8] Additional funds under the new state government of Uttar Pradesh in 2017
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[9] Uttar Pradesh speeds up work on Kushinagar airport
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Media Links

Air strip near Kushinagar
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Other Documents

http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/business/kushinagar-in-up-to-have-international-airport_100631550.html Kushinagar is an important Buddhist pilgrimage site where the body of Gautama Buddha was cremated
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Kushinagar is the place where Lord Gautam Buddha breathed his last.
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Meta Information
ContributorSwapan Kumar Patra and Brototi Roy
Last update19/10/2018