UAE -  Non-resident Odias living in the UAE flew in specially on the inaugural Dubai-Bhubaneswar direct flight on Tuesday, May 15, 2023, and met Odisha's Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

They thanked him for his intervention in kickstarting these flights to the eastern state of India.

Residents reiterated that what made this flight (which is operated by IndiGo) special is that the it fulfills a promise the minister made back in June 2022, when he was in Dubai for an investors' meet.

Senior member of the Odia Community of UAE, Priyadarshee Panigrahi, who is the head of an Indian MNC’s MENA operation and is based at Dubai, met the state’s Chief Minister at ‘Naveen Nivas’ after landing from Dubai.

He thanked him for the launch of these direct flight operations, which was a long pending demand of the Odia diaspora.

Panigrahi says, “It was a wonderful feeling to fly from Dubai to Odisha directly in just about four hours, saving time, money and a lot of inconvenience. As a gesture of thanks, we presented the CM with a UAE’s traditional dagger, a ‘Khanjar’ and dates."

In addition to this a ‘thank you’ letter signed by a cross section of Odia residents in UAE was also handed over. Headlining the letter was mentor of the community and Director & CEO of International Shipping & Logistics FZE (A Tata Group Company), Captain Soumya Ranjan Patnaik.

Among the many signatories to the thank you letter were senior doctors Dr Rajesh Pattanayak, Dr Sudeep Mohapatra, senior bankers Sandeep Das, Lalatendu Mohanty, entrepreneurs Tushar Sahu, Richa Samantaray, railway safety expert Bira Kishore Samal, finance professional Rajat Rath and renowned Odia artist Mona Biswarupa Mohanty.

The letter talked about the quick and honest fulfilment of the promise chief minister made to the Odia community of the UAE in June last year, during his trip to Dubai.

Expats opined that this flight is a boon for all Odias living in the UAE. The community hoped that apart from making the diaspora’s journey back home comfortable, the direct flight would promote tourism and investment in Odisha.

The minister opined he was happy that the flight had started and said, ‘Welcome home” to the UAE residents.

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