When the budget was presented in the Uttar Pradesh assembly a few days ago, the focus was on the outlay allocated to the airport at Ayodhya. That the city gets more than a fair share of coverage for anything that is linked to it is understandable.
What, perhaps, is a little lesser known is the commitment of the civil aviation sector for this bounty offered to Ayodhya and several other airports in the country’s most populous state, which until recently was restricted to just Lucknow and Varanasi!
Uttar Pradesh is home to the Taj Mahal – the single biggest crowd puller for international tourists in India – and Agra does not have a dedicated civil airport. Instead, it is part of the Indian Air Force (IAF) Station, which has only witnessed sporadic scheduled services in the past.
The same holds true for Kanpur, Prayagraj (erstwhile Allahabad) and Gorakhpur, which have only seen limited flights. The speed of adding services has been so fast that airports like Gorakhpur have had to do with a temporary apron due to lack of space to accommodate the ever growing traffic.