Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday wrote a letter to Civil Aviation Minister A. Gajapathi Raju to include Bhubaneswar as a stop for the Colombo-Varanasi flight.
Patnaik said launching of Air India flight from Colombo to Varanasi recently would be useful in promotion of heritage tourism and in increasing the traffic from Sri Lanka into India.
“Odisha is a land of rich cultural heritage. Emperor Ashoka converted to Buddhism and spread the message across the world from Odisha. Apart from that diamond triangle of Buddhist sites has conclusively established that Odisha was an important centre of Buddhism during 3rd century BC,” informed Patnaik.
He also informed that in the recently held International Buddhist conclave and other discussions in different forums, the tour operators, academicians and revered monks from Sri Lanka have expressed strong desire to come to Odisha to explore Buddhist sites.
“However, as there is no direct air connectivity, Sri Lankan tourist find it difficult to visit Odisha,” said the Chief Minister.
“In order to meet this strong, unmet demand, I would request that Bhubaneswar may be included as a stop for the Colombo-Varanasi flight. This will help in increasing the tourist footfalls for both Odisha and Varanasi,” he added.