Bhubaneswar: From the first direct flight from Bhubaneswar to Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok to state’s first visually impaired OAS officer, we have compiled all the major ‘first-times’ of Odisha as the year winds up:
1. First international flights from Bhubaneswar – After a long wait, the Temple City figured in the list of international air connectivity destinations. Malaysian low-cost carrier Air Asia launched its operations from here. The direct flight to Kuala Lumpur took off from Biju Patnaik International Airport (BPIA). Besides, national carrier Air India too began flight service to Bangkok.
2. First visually impaired OAS officer- Sanyasi Behera became the first visually impaired man to become an OAS officer. Against all odds, Sanyasi won a prolonged legal battle against prohibition of physically challenged candidates from appearing OPSC examination.
3. First CNG terminal- This December, Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan inaugurated Odisha’s first two Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) stations at Chandrasekharpur and Patia area of Bhubaneswar, under the Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga scheme to provide cheaper, environment-friendly and safer fuel to the CNG-run scooters and auto rickshaws.
4. Asian Athletics Championship- Odisha hosted Asian Athletics Championship, a mega sporting event, for the first time this year. The venue — Kalinga Stadium — got a makeover in a record 90 days. Odisha showcased its rich culture with some splendid cultural performances at the inauguration. Kalinga Stadium was lit with high-spirited sportspersons and enthusiasts across Asia. While India won 29 medals, Odisha’s Dutee Chand and Sravani made it to the finals.
5. Hockey World League final- Odisha hosted FIH Hockey World League Final for the first time in which world’s best eight teams, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, England, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and India, participated in it. The Aussies lifted the cup beating Germany. It was a sporting high for India as it stood third in the fiercey fought contest against Belgium.
6. First Transgender passport- Sadhana Mishra became the first transgender to get a passport in Odisha with ‘T’ (transgender) written in the gender category. With a Masters degree in Social Work, she has always strived to work for the welfare of the transgender community and other social development issues such as betterment of tribal children.
7. First Tribal Sports Meet- This month, Odisha hosted the first tribal sports meet which was the first-of-its-kind in the country. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurated the event, which aimed at encouraging sports among tribals.
8. First cabinet meeting outside secretariat- In a departure from usual practice, cabinet meeting was convened outside secretariat for the first time in the history of Odisha on December 27. This cabinet meet was held at Circuit House in Puri.
9. CM’s first televised address to children- Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik addressed more than six lakh students this Children’s Day, through a televised programme. The 45-minute speech was aired on Doordarshan.
10. BJP National Executive Meet– The two-day BJP national executive meet saw Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah in attendance among other top leaders in Odisha capital this April.