Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday requested Union Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu to introduce a direct flight between Bhubaneswar and Surat in Gujarat.

In a letter to Prabhu, the Chief Minister said lakhs of Odia families have settled in Surat and are engaged in the textile sector.

He said there is no direct air connectivity between Bhubaneswar and Surat.

“I would, therefore, like to request you to impress upon Air India and other private airlines to introduce direct flights between Bhubaneswar and Surat at the earliest,” said the Chief Minister.

The Chief Minister said it takes a lot of time to travel by air between the two cities.

“During the hours of urgent necessity, Odia people living in Surat face untold difficulties in reaching Odisha in time,” said Patnaik.

Besides, people from both the cities visit places of tourist interest in and around the cities every year. Air connectivity between Bhubaneswar and Surat can give rise to tourist inflow to both the places, he added.