Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Friday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requesting him to establish Sri Jagannath International Airport in Puri to meet the growing international travel demands of tourists.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, CM Patnaik wrote, “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 kms away from Puri and along with the adjacent Ramachandi-Chandrabhaga beaches provides a unique experience to national and international tourists,” he added.
Puri is organically 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 the other. 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 the CM.
Writing about the rich heritage of Odisha, the CM said, “Most of the historic Buddhist heritage sites like Dhauli, Ratnagiri, etc., with travel time within 3 hours from Puri, attract Buddhist pilgrims from across the world.”
CM Patnaik said 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 coastal highway passes through this area and connects the Paradeep Port (114 km away) and the greenfield Astarang Port (60km away).
CM Patnaik also wrote that Puri has great potential for economic synergy along the entire corridor.
“We believe that Puri has potential to become a hub for spiritual, tourism and economic activities,” he wrote.
“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,” he wrote.
To establish the proposed Sri Jagannath International Airport, the State government has also identified land in Puri.
The CM assured the Central government that officials of State government will proactively support all the activities required for establishing the airport in a record time.
CM Patnaik requested PM Modi to ask Ministry of Civil Aviation to take up this airport as a priority project.