Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has sought prompt steps to launch direct flight services between Bhubaneswar and Dubai to boost the development of Odisha, which is emerging as a "growth-engine".
Noting that the government has created "ground-breaking" progress in developing regional air connectivity through the UDAN scheme, the Petroleum and Steel Minister said at present Bhubaneswar is only connected to Bangkok via direct flight service.
In a letter to Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, he said Odisha is "emerging as a growth-engine for eastern India under Prime Minister's 'Purvodaya vision'", and improving direct international connectivity will further give a fillip to the region's developmental prospects.
There has been a long-pending request from various quarters for introducing a direct flight from Bhubaneswar to Dubai, Pradhan said in the letter dated September 17.
"I am made to understand that there are more than 15,000 Odia people residing in different parts of the United Arab Emirates, who are forced to undertake an indirect route for travelling to Odisha.
"I also understand the Odia Society of UAE had a meeting with GM Air India Middle-east and Africa regarding viability of a direct Air India flight between Bhubaneswar and Dubai, based on favourable traffic data between these destinations," the minister said.
Pradhan also emphasised that Bhubaneswar is an educational, healthcare and cultural hub with rich potential for medical tourism, cultural tourism and educational exchange programmes.
"Keeping in mind the welfare of communities to and from Bhubaneswar - Dubai and the larger potential for development of Odisha, I request your personal intervention in launching a direct flight between Bhubaneswar and Dubai at the earliest," he added.