Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia has urged Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to provide 100 per cent Viability Gap Fund (VGF) support to usher in a new opportunity for more international flight operations from Bhubaneswar.

Under this initiative, international flight services can be started on Bhubaneswar-Dubai, Bhubaneswar-Abu Dhabi, Bhubaneswar-Bangkok, Bhubaneswar-Kuala Lumpur, Bhubaneswar-Colombo, Bhubaneswar-Singapore and Bhubaneswar-Kathmandu routes. 

“On receipt of the consent of the State government for 100 per cent VGF support, the routes will be put for bidding by the airlines,” read Scindia's letter to Patnaik.

Though the initiative has opened a new door for rollout of more international flights from Bhubaneswar, Odisha Government is yet to take any decision on the proposal of the Centre.

“I must mention here that earlier, we too had supported VGF. But this time, the plan has been proposed under different sets of conditions. We will have a thorough discussion before taking any step in this direction,” said State Transport Minister Padmanabha Behera.

Meanwhile, tour operators and hoteliers in the State have wholeheartedly welcomed the opportunity provided by the Centre as it will open a new vista for the hotel and tourism industry in Odisha to flourish.

“It is a great move by the Centre. We will be really happy if Odisha government accepts the proposal. However, the State government has to choose the routes carefully on which they will provide Viability Gap Funding,” said Pradipta Mohapatra, Director of Sand Pebbles Tour and Travels.

“It is highly essential to open the routs to Bangkok and Dubai because the former will help us connect with South Asia and Far East while Dubai will help in securing connectivity with Europe and USA,” said Debashis Patnaik, Executive Director of Crown hotel.

“Odisha government has the experience of providing VGF earlier. So they should accept the offer and provide VGF directly without any intervention from the Centre. In this process negotiation will be better,” said Patnaik.

(Edited by Suryakant Jena)