Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to establish an international airport at Puri.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, Patnaik urged him to ask the Ministry of Civil Aviation to take up the airport project on priority.
He proposed that the international airport be named Sri Jagannath International Airport.
Patnaik said the proposed airport would help bring Lord Jagannath devotees from across the world to Puri.
He said that land has been identified for the airport and the state government would extend all possible assistance for establishing the airport in record time.
The holy city of Puri known as the abode of Lord Jagannath, is one among the Char Dhams, and Hindus from across the globe visit the temple every year. The Rath Yatra there is a world famous annual event attracting lakhs of pilgrims and visitors.
The Sun Temple of Konark, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is just 35 km away from Puri and along with the adjacent Ramachandi-Chandrabhaga beaches, provides a unique experience to domestic and international tourists, Patnaik said.
"Puri is organically linked to two Ramsar sites -- Chilika Lake on one side and Bhitarkanika National Park on the other. Both these locations have huge potential for international eco-tourism," he added.
Besides, the Puri beach has recently been transformed into a 'Blue Flag' beach with world class experience for the tourists, the Odisha CM said.
Most of the historic Buddhist heritage sites such as Dhauli and Ratnagiri are located within a three-hour journey from Puri.
Patnaik informed that the coastal highway passes through Puri and connects Paradip port and Greenfield Astaranga port and there is a great potential for economic synergy along the entire corridor.
"We believe that Puri has the potential to become a hub for spiritual tourism and economic activities," Patnaik added.
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