After inaugurations, now politicking begins over intl flight op

Bhubaneswar: Both the ruling parties, BJP and BJD – one at the Centre and the other in the State, seem to be in a hurry to grab the credit of launching various developmental projects ahead of Nabakalebar Rath Yatra. The one-upmanship is though greatly benefitting Odisha, Congress is left grumbling for obvious reasons.

A day after politics hotted up in the State over a slew of inaugurations by chief minister Naveen Patnaik and Union ministers, it is now the turn of launching of the first international flight from city-based Biju Patnaik airport to bicker over by the parties.

Mud-slinging began between the two ruling dispensations after the airport did not get a direct flight to overseas destination even one-and-a-half years after being accorded ‘international’ status. While BJD termed it as Centre’s ‘failure’ and described it as ‘lollipop’ for the people of the State, Congress blamed both BJD and BJP for it.

Notably, Patnaik gave the inaugural function a miss reportedly protesting Centre’s ‘failure’ to start direct flights to international destinations from the city airport. Though the Civil Aviation ministry had agreed to start direct international flights, later it changed the flight schedule due to ‘unavoidable reasons.’

Meanwhile, the passengers of Air India flight AI-077 which landed at the Terminal-2 of the airport had a mixed traveling experience as they faced many difficulties after their journey. Many passengers were seen waiting in queues as their baggage did not arrive at the airport in time.

On the other hand, airport director Sharad Kumar sought to explain that as it is just the beginning of international operations from the airport, passengers had to face some teething troubles. He, however, assured that problems will be resolved in the coming days.