Bhubaneswar: Non-resident Odias (NRO) living in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have demanded direct air connectivity to the newly-opened Jharsuguda airport from major metro cities like Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai, among others.
A group of senior Odia professionals staying in the UAE met the Counsel General of India Shri Vipul and presented a memorandum in this regard.
The Odia professionals hailing from Western Odisha districts cited they had to take long train journeys or fly to Bhubaneswar to Raipur to reach their destination. They also stated that due to non-availability of direct flights, they take the long international flights and wait at major airports for the connecting flights.
Besides, the NROs said that several national and international recruiters are shying away from attending campus recruitments at various leading academic institutions in the region such as National Institute of Technology- Rourkela, Indian Institute of Management-Sambalpur, Veer Surendra Sai Institute of Technology (VSSUT), Burla in Sambalpur, among others.
The direct air connectivity to Jharsuguda airport will be hugely helpful for business travellers as the Western Odisha is the home of many leading companies like Mahanadi Coalfield Limited, Rourkela Steel Plant, Tata Steel, Vedanta Captive Power Plant and Smelter, among others, they added.
The non-resident Odias further stated that the direct flights to Jharsuguda will also boost tourism in the State. Samaleswari Temple, Ghanteswari Temple, Hirakud Dam and Buddhist Shrine in Boudh are some major tourist spots.
Vipul, Consul General of India at Dubai, who himself has lived and worked in Rourkela for about 6 months, gave the group a patient hearing and was convinced on the need for direct air connectivity to Jharsuguda airport from major cities. He promised to take this up with Civil Aviation Ministry in Delhi and request for active consideration for introduction of direct flights.
The delegation comprised of Captain Soumya Ranjan Patnaik (Director & CEO, International Shipping & Logistics FZE – A Tata Group Company), Priyadarshee Panigrahi – (General Manager, Wipro Unza Middle East Limited – A Wipro Group Company) and Arvind Biswal (Head Legal, VFS Tasheel International).
According to Patnaik, direct air links will boost the economic development of the region and will enable greater corporate investment, ultimately leading to better lives for the people residing in and around Western Odisha.