Dubai: On the eve of the inauguration of the much-awaited Jharsuguda Airport by Honourable Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi on 22nd September, Western Odisha Residents of United Arab Emirates celebrated the occasion in front of the iconic landmark & the tallest building in the World – Burj Khalifa in Dubai, yesterday.
The news of the airport’s inauguration has spread cheer among Prabasi Western Odisha residents across the World and a few families from Western Odisha in UAE organised a small celebration in front of Burj Khalifa to cheer this momentous occasion. Wearing traditional Sambalpuri dresses, men, women and children cut a specially designed cake. All the families greeted each other and expressed joy on Jharsuguda joining the National Air Map.
The establishment of an airport in the western part of the state was a long pending demand of the people from Western Odisha. The need for an airport was particularly felt by the Non-residents. Non Resident Western Odisha families have to endure long international flights to major airports like Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata and then have to wait for a connecting flight to Bhubaneswar or Raipur (two major airports in the region). Their journey to reach their hometowns doesn’t end there, they have to again take a train or a road journey, often running into 5-6 hours to reach their destinations in the western part of the state. People are now hopeful of a direct air link from major cities like Delhi and Kolkata.
According to a senior member of the Western Odisha Family, Mr. Priyadarshee Panigrahi, who is the General Manager of a leading consumer products company and is based at Dubai, ‘This airport will connect the entire western region of Odisha with the World. Many businesses and institutions refused to be based in Sambalpur and its surroundings due to lack of air connectivity and this issue will be solved with the establishment of the Jharsuguda airport. This airport will indeed boost the economy of the region and will open new frontiers for business and education development in the region. Tourism will also get a big boost’.
Another senior member of the community Shri Rajesh Tripathy, who is the General Manager of a leading Business School in Dubai feels that this airport will make the journey back home a smooth affair. ‘Currently my home town Bargarh is a good 6-7 hours of road travel from Bhubaneswar. With this airport, I shall reach home within 2 hours’.
Among the senior most members of the community, Shri Manas Panda, Director of Multinational Company, based in Dubai, feels that the airport will accelerate industrialisation and promote the economy of the region. Shri Manas said ‘I feel this is the catalyst which will ignite development of the region’.
Shri Rajat Rath, who belongs to Bhawanipatna and is a finance professional based in the UAE for the past 10 plus years feels the airport was a long overdue one. He strongly feels that Odisha needs more airports and even bats for another airport in the southern region. He feels many smaller countries in the world have airports at the distances of 150-200 kms and we should emulate them.
Shri Subhendra Nayak, a construction professional, who has been living in Dubai for the past 12 years and belongs to Kuchinda, is overjoyed. The thought of flying directly to Jharsuguda from Delhi and then reaching Kuchinda within an hour of landing at the airport is a great feeling according to him.
Shri Alokmay Behera who is an environmental consultant working out of Dubai for the past 10 years and is originally from Sambalpur feels that air connectivity will significantly boost campus placements in various institutes like IIM Sambalpur and VSSUT Burla. Many top recruiters were shying away from coming to various educational and professional institutes in the region because of the lack of connectivity according to him. Now this will not be the case.
Overall the airport is bringing in a lot of joy and cheer to the people, particularly the Prabasis. All of them are hopeful that this airport will be the catalyst for the rapid development of the region and will ultimately improve the life of the people in a significant way. As of now, its celebration time to herald a new era in the growth of the region!