Let Odisha Haj pilgrims embark at Biju Patnaik Airport, CM urges Centre

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government has urged the Centre to declare Biju Patnaik International Airport here as the embarkation point for the Haj pilgrims of the state from this year.

In a letter to Union Civil Aviation minister A Gajapathi Raju on Monday, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said the Haj pilgrims of Odisha are presently using the Netaji Subash Chjandra Bose International Airport, Kolkata as the embarkation point.

The Chief Minister pointed out that Haj Pilgrims from Bihar and Jharkhand use Gaya Airport and Ranchi Airport for embarkation while the Madhya Pradesh government uses two airports and Maharashtra three as the embarkation points for Haj pilgrims. More than 600 persons from Odisha are expected to undertake the pilgrimage this year, he said.

“Considering that international operations have started at Biju Patnaik International Airport, I request you to declare the airport as the embarkation point for the Haj pilgrims of Odisha from Haj-2016 onwards as it will help them if their journey could be done directly from Bhubaneswar,” the Chief Minister said in his letter.