BHUBANESWAR: The state government has requested the Centre to declare the Biju Patnaik International Airport as the embarkation point for Haj pilgrims of Odisha from 2016 onwards.
The request was made by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in a letter to Civil Aviation minister A Gajapathi Raju. Haj pilgrims of Odisha are using th Netaji Subas Chandra Bose International Airport, Kolkata as the embarkation point.
Stating that international operations have already started from the Biju Patnaik International Airport, the chief minister said it will help the pilgrims if their journey could be done directly from Bhubaneswar. This year more than 600 persons from Odisha are expected to undertake the pilgrimage, he said.
Haj pilgrims from Bihar and Jharkhand use Gaya and Ranchi airports respectively for embarkation. Madhya Pradesh uses two airports and Maharashtra uses three airports as the embarkation points for Haj pilgrims, he said.