Naveen Patnaik pitches for international airport at Puri

Odisha CM cites annual Rath Yatra, pristine beaches as hub for tourism

The Odisha government on Friday demanded the establishment of an international airport, named after Lord Jagannath, at Puri.

“The State government has identified land at Puri for the proposed airport and will proactively support all the activities required for establishing the airport in record time. I request that the Ministry of Civil Aviation may be asked to take up this airport as a priority project,” Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said in a letter addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

According to the letter which was released to media, Mr. Patnaik wrote, “We believe that Puri has potential to become a hub for spiritual tourism and economic activities. The Rath Yatra of Puri is a world-famous annual event attracting lakhs of pilgrims and visitors from across the world. The holy Rath Yatra is celebrated across 192 countries.”

“The proposed airport will help bring Jagannath devotees from across the world to Puri and will help promote Jagannath culture across the world. Therefore, we propose that an international airport be established at Puri in the name of Sri Jagannath International Airport,” said Odisha CM.

Stating that the holy city of Puri is among the Char Dhams of Hindu dharma, he said, “Hindus, from all over the world visit Sri Jagannath Temple at Puri. The Sun Temple of Konark, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is just 35 kms away from Puri and along with the adjacent Ramachandi-Chandrabhaga beaches provides a unique experience to national and international tourists.”

Moreover, Puri is linked to two Ramsar Sites Chilka Lake (India’s first Ramsar site and UNESCO World Heritage site) on one side and Bhitarkanika National Park on other side.

“Both these locations have huge potential for international eco-tourism. Puri beach has been recently transformed into a Blue Flag beach with world-class experience for the tourists,” said Mr. Patnaik.

The Odisha CM observed that the long coastline and adjoining bay area near Puri are an ideal location for promoting new world economic activities, leisure and hospitality, health and spiritual centres.

“The proposed coastal highway passes through this area and connects the Paradeep Port (114 km away) and the greenfield Astarang Port (60km away). There is great potential for economic synergy along the entire corridor,” he said.

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