Monday, April 15, 2019

Odisha expats work to improve air connectivity

Dubai: A group of non-resident Indians (NRIs) in the UAE lobbied hard for the revival of flights to a new airport in their home state Odisha and, recently, their petitions had borne fruit.

Flights from New Delhi to Odisha's Jharsuguda airport have been resumed.

Jharsuguda is the state's second airport that was inaugurated by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 22, 2018. However, as the home-grown operator Air Odisha suspended its services within two weeks after the inauguration, passengers couldn't avail of the flights to that part of the state.

Getting together under the banner of Global Odias for Odisha's Development (Good), these UAE-based professionals raised the issue with the authorities concerned and travelled to New Delhi and Odisha several times.
15/04/19 Saman Haziq
Dubai resident Soumya Ranjan Patnaik, CEO of a shipping company and mentor of Good, said: "There is massive demand for flights into the western part of Odisha, which is why we decided to take up the cause of our people and started our campaign to restart operations at Jharsuguda airport.

"We first met up with the Consul-General of India in Dubai, Vipul, and presented a memorandum to him. It was later followed by a meeting with the Chief Minister of Odisha, Navin Patnaik."

Three months later, the inaugural SpiceJet flight took off from Delhi to Jharsuguda. Although the Good group comprises six NRIs - Patnaik, Manas Panda, Priyadarshee Panigrahi, Rajesh Tripathy, Rajat Rath and Arvind Biswal - only two could be part of the historic occasion. They flew from Dubai to be part of the flight.
Panigrahi and Panda, both Dubai residents, lit the inaugural lamp at the Terminal 2 building of Delhi airport, where they also had the honour of flagging off the aircraft on the tarmac for the historic flight, along with the captain and a few other passengers.
15/04/19 Saman Haziq/Khaleej Times
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