BHUBANESWAR: Even as the first international operation was launched from Biju Patnaik airport here on Friday, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik did not attend the function as scheduled. Neither any Minister from Odisha was at the function to deputise for Naveen.
Naveen was the chief guest as per the invitation card of Air India published for the occasion. However, sources said the Chief Minister skipped the function as he was not happy with the denial of direct international flights from the airport. The airport will only provide service as feeder to metropolitan airports for international operations.
BJD sources, however, said Naveen and several other Ministers were busy at a meeting to review preparations for Rath Yatra at Puri and could not attend the launching ceremony. Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram launched the international operations from the airport while Union Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan was guest of honour.