Bhubaneswar: Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik has urged the prime minister Narendra Modi to establish an international airport at the holy city of Puri.

In a letter to the PM, Patnaik has stated that the state government is proposing for establishment of an international airport at the holy city of Puri, abode of Lord Jagannath, which is an important city from pilgrimage, tourism and historic point of view.

Puri 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.

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 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 Dhauli, Ratnagiri, with travel time within 3 hours from Puri, attract Buddhist Pilgrims from across the world.

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).

Pointing out that there is great potential for geo-economic synergy along the entire corridor, the Odisha chief minister has written in his letter, “We believe that Puri has potential to become a hub for spiritual, tourism and economic activities.”

The Rath Y atra of Puri is a world-famous annual event attracting lakhs of pilgritns 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, Patnaik mentioned adding, “Therefore, we propose that an international airport be established at Puri in the name of Sri Jagannath International Airport.”

Stating that the State government has identified land at Puri for the proposed airport, the chief minister has assured that his government will proactively support all the activities required for establishing the airport in a record time.

” I request that the ministry of civil aviation may be asked to take up this airport as a priority project.”