Bhubaneswar: A group of Non-Resident Odias (NROs), residing in UAE, today thanked Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for his personal intervention in launching direct flight service between Bhubaneswar and Dubai.
The NROs met the Chief Minister after reaching the Biju Patnaik International Airport (BPIA) here through the Dubai-Bhubaneswar inaugural flight, sources said.
Priyadarshee Panigrahi, a senior member of the Odia Community of UAE, met the Chief Minister at his residence after landing at BPIA from Dubai in the direct flight.
Panigrahi, the head of an Indian MNC’s MENA operations, thanked the Chief Minister for launching the direct flight service between Bhubaneswar and Dubai. Panigrahi was accompanied by another Non Resident Odia Abha Panigrahi, a budding woman entrepreneur.
Panigrahi expressed his happiness that the Chief Minister has kept his promise of launching direct flight service between Odisha capital and Dubai.
“It was indeed a wonderful feeling to fly from Dubai to Odisha directly in just about 4 hours, saving time and money. It was a dream come true for the Odia Community of UAE,” Panigrahi said.
As a gesture of gratitude, Panigrahi presented the CM with a memento and dates grown in UAE.
A ‘Thank You’ letter signed by a cross section of Odia residents in UAE was also handed over to the Chief Minister.
Senior Odia community member and Director and CEO of International Shipping & Logistics FZE (A Tata Group Company), Captain Soumya Ranjan Patnaik, senior doctors Dr. Rajesh Pattanayak and Dr. Sudeep Mohapatra, senior bankers Sandeep Das and Lalatendu Mohanty, entrepreneurs Tushar Sahu and Richa Samantaray, railway safety expert Bira Kishore Samal, finance professional Rajat Rath and renowned Odia artist Mona Biswarupa Mohanty are among the signatories of the letter.
The letter talked about the fulfillment of the promise made by the Chief Minister to the Odia Community of the UAE on June 29 last year.
The community hoped that apart from making the diaspora’s journey back home comfortable, the direct flight will promote tourism and investment in Odisha.
The decision of the state government to cover operation costs while taking over revenue generated from the sales is seen as a smart move for direct flight service between Bhubaneswar-Dubai.
The Chief Minister was happy to meet the Non Resident Odias. He heard them out patiently and was happy to learn about the convenience that this flight brings to the Odia diaspora.
“Welcome home,” said the Chief Minister while greeting the NROs. He also presented Panigrahi and Abha with ‘Hockey T-shirts’.