Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia has backed Jawaharlal Nehru’s choice for the next international airport in Uttar Pradesh, saying it would bring development to the area. Critics have criticized the choice of location – Gautam Budha Nagar, more than 75 kilometers from Delhi, one of the remotest corners of the district, which is emerging as an industrial hub.
“The days that first developed, and then felt the need to connect, are long gone,” Mr Scindia told NDTV in an exclusive interview.
“The trend is reversed, where connectivity drives development and in that context, Noida International Airport is going to change our outlook towards Jawaharlal Nehru and the surrounding areas,” he added.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated the International Airport, which is expected to be operational by September 2024 with the initial capacity to handle 12 million passengers per year.
On the occasion, he taunted the opposition, saying, “Many projects in UP were postponed by the previous governments because it was also suggested to be postponed … but then the BJP’s double engine government comes and development increases.”
With multiple assembly elections in the corner, including the politically important state of Uttar Pradesh, it was Prime Minister Modi’s second major inauguration in a few weeks.
Inaugurating the Eastern Expressway last week, he said for former chief ministers of Uttar Pradesh, “development was limited to where their homes were.”
“Previous governments did not think of any communication in UP … The condition of roads was bad. For the people of Eastern Uttar Pradesh, reaching Lucknow was like winning the battle of Mahabharata … Who can forget the power cuts? Who can forget about law and order and medical treatment Advantages? I knew the way the then government treated the people of UP unfairly, ”he said.
“Discrimination was made in the name of development so that their interests could be served,” he said, adding that his speech spelled out many references to “tribal leaders”.
Asked about allegations of using the official platform for politics, Mr Scindia said, “It is true that successive governments have failed to deliver on this airport promise and it is only the dynamic leadership of the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister of the North who can make it a success.”
Mr Scindia, whose 22 followers defected to the BJP and toppled the Kamal Nath-led Congress government, was promoted to Prime Minister Modi’s cabinet earlier this year. After his departure, he complained that “talent and ability rarely believe in Congress.”