An official panel of the Airport Authority of India (AAI) on Thursday conducted the feasibility study for the proposed international airport near Puri town by visiting the sites identified by the district administration.

It is pertinent to note here that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik earlier on 1 January had demanded the establishment of an international airport, named after Lord Jagannath, at Puri, in an official letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“The district administration has identified two sites for the proposed airport at Puri-Konark marine drive and at Sipasarubali near Girala on the Puri-Brahmagiri road. The AAI panel made an on the spot assessment of both sites as part of the feasibility study. The administration also submitted a blueprint containing the details of the project to the panel”, said Puri Collector Samarth Verma.

Chief Minister Patnaik had earlier urged PM Modi to take up this airport as a priority project by iterating that Puri being home to lord Jagannath has immense potential to become a hub for spiritual tourism and economic activities.

The Rath Yatra of Puri is a world-famous annual event that attracts lakhs of pilgrims and visitors from across the world. The holy Rath Yatra is celebrated across 192 countries, Patnaik had written to Modi.

The proposed airport will help bring Jagannath devotees from across the globe to Puri and will help promote Jagannath culture across the world.

The long coastline and adjoining bay area near Puri are congenial locations for promoting new world economic activities, leisure and hospitality, health and spiritual centres, Patnaik had maintained.

Puri is widely acclaimed as the rich tourism treasure of the state. The Jagannath temple and sprawling beach has always been the happy hunting ground for domestic and overseas tourists. Puri is linked to two Ramsar Sites Chilka Lake (India’s first Ramsar site and UNESCO World Heritage site) on one side and Bhitarkanika National Park on the other side. These sites are also endowed with immense potential to figure in international ecotourism maps. The majestic Puri beach recently earned the coveted Blue Flag beach certification. The tag is conferred on the environment-friendly and clean beaches which are equipped with amenities of international standards for tourists.