Non-resident Odias residing in the UAE were thrilled to board the inaugural Dubai-Bhubaneswar direct flight on Tuesday, May 15, 2023. Upon arrival, they had the opportunity to meet with Odisha’s Chief Minister, Naveen Patnaik, and express their gratitude for his efforts in launching these flights to the eastern state of India.
The residents emphasized that this IndiGo-operated flight holds special significance as it fulfills a promise made by the minister during his visit to Dubai in June 2022 for an investors’ meet. Priyadarshee Panigrahi, a senior member of the Odia Community of UAE, along with several others, met Chief Minister Patnaik at ‘Naveen Nivas’ after landing from Dubai. They conveyed their appreciation for the commencement of these direct flight operations, which had been a long-standing demand of the Odia diaspora.
Panigrahi shared, “It was a wonderful feeling to fly directly from Dubai to Odisha in just about four hours, saving time, money, and a lot of inconvenience. As a token of gratitude, we presented the CM with a traditional dagger from the UAE, a ‘Khanjar,’ and dates.” They also handed over a ‘thank you’ letter signed by a cross-section of Odia residents in the UAE.
Among the signatories were prominent individuals such as 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. The letter acknowledged the swift and sincere fulfillment of the promise made by the chief minister during his visit to Dubai in June of the previous year.
Expats expressed their belief that this flight would be a boon for all Odias living in the UAE. They hoped that besides providing a comfortable journey for the diaspora returning home, the direct flight would also promote tourism and investment in Odisha. The minister expressed his happiness that the flight had commenced and warmly welcomed the UAE residents, saying, “Welcome home.”
In celebration of the launch of direct flight operations between Bhubaneswar and Dubai, a special cultural evening called ‘Odisha Dibas’ took place in Dubai. The state’s Chief Minister virtually addressed the gathering, which included over 1,000 participants, including the Odia diaspora in the UAE, the Middle East, and dignitaries.
Congratulating the State Government on this significant step in improving Odisha’s global connectivity, Dr. Aman Puri, the Consulate General of India in Dubai, highlighted how the direct connectivity between Dubai and Odisha would create unparalleled opportunities for the state and connect it to the world. He expressed confidence that the Odia and Indian diasporas in the UAE and the Middle East would take advantage of this direct connectivity to visit and explore “India’s Best Kept Secrets.”