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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
Name of conflict:Kushinagar International Airport, UP, India
State or province:Uttar Pradesh
Location of conflict:Kushinagar
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Ports and airport projects
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific commodities:Land
Airport expansion. Pilgrimage.
Tourism services
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The 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.

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Project area:222,577
Level of Investment for the conflictive project400,000,000
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:2010
Company names or state enterprises:IL&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 actors:Government 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 organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:One former member of state legislature & Local Villagers
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Landless peasants
Local government/political parties
Forms of mobilization:Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusUnder construction
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Institutional changes
Negotiated alternative solution
New legislation
Strengthening of participation
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain: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 & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

National Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy
[click to view]

[click to view]

[1] Development of International Airport at Kushinagar, Uttar Pradesh on A PPP Format Project Information Memorandum
[click to view]

[2] Farmers protest against acquisition of land for international airport in Kushinaga
[click to view]

[3] Kushinagar Airport project back on runway
[click to view]

[4] Kushinagar in UP to have international airport
[click to view]

[5] Protests put UP projects on the backburner
[click to view]

[6] Kushinanagar international airport to get ready for takeoff. Newspaper article from 2013.
[click to view]

[7] Decision to change the model of airport construction from private partnership to partnership betweent the state government and Airport Authority of India
[click to view]

[8] Additional funds under the new state government of Uttar Pradesh in 2017
[click to view]

[9] Uttar Pradesh speeds up work on Kushinagar airport
[click to view]

UP government plans international airport in Kushinagar
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Air strip near Kushinagar
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Swapan Kumar Patra and Brototi Roy
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:967
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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