Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to facilitate establishment of an international airport at Puri, about 65 km from the State’s capital city of Bhubaneswar.
In a two-page letter sent to Modi on the first day of the New Year 2021, Patnaik said that the proposed airport be established in the name of Sri Jagannath International Airport.
“The proposed airport will help bring Jagannath devotees from across the world to Puri and will help promote Jagannath culture across the world,” said Patnaik in his letter to the Prime Minister.
Stating that 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 a record time, Patnaik requested Modi that the Ministry of Civil Aviation “may be asked to take up this airport as a priority project”.
In order to justify his government’s stand to establish an international airport in the holy coastal town of Puri, Patnaik said “the holy city of Puri, abode of Lord Jagannath, is among the Char Dhams of Hindu Dharma. 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 km away from Puri and along with the adjacent Ramachandi-Chandrabhaga beaches provides a unique experience to national and intenational tourists, said the Chief Minister.
He further stated that Puri is organically linked to two Ramsar Sites Chilika 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.”
Most of the historic Buddhist heritage sites like Dhau!li, Ratnagiri, etc., with travel time within 3 hours from Puri, attract Buddhist pilgrims from across the world, added Patnaik.
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 coastal highway passes through this area and connects the Paradeep Port (114 km away) and the greenfield Astarang Port (60 km away). There is great potential for economic synergy along the entire corridor, said Patnaik.
“We believe that Puri has potential to become a hub for spiritual, tourism and economic activities,” he emphasised.
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, Patnaik added.