Rourkela in Odisha has been connected with the state capital Bhubaneswar by air under the central government’s UDAN scheme ahead of the FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup 2023, scheduled to start on January 13.
Some of the matches of the hockey World Cup will be held at the newly built Birsa Munda International Hockey Stadium in Rourkela.
Chief minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday flagged off the flight service from Bhubaneswar to Rourkela. While Union civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia joined the opening ceremony virtually, Union education minister Dharmendra Pradhan was present at the Biju Patnaik Airport in Bhubaneswar.
The ATR-72 Alliance Air plane took off at 10.45am and reached Rourkela at 11.40am. The return flight took off at 12.05pm and landed in Bhubaneswar at 1pm.
Regular flights between Rourkela and Bhubaneswar will commence on January 12. While the airfare from Bhubaneswar to Rourkela has been fixed at Rs 2,803, the return ticket will cost Rs 2,721.
However, the Odisha government’s advertisements in various newspapers on the launch of flight service to Rourkela with chief minister Naveen Patnaik’s pictures have not gone down well with the BJP leadership. It has accused the BJD of not giving due credit to the Prime Minister for the upcoming hockey World Cup in Odisha and the other major events that are being organised in the state because of the Centre’s unflinching support.
Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan said when the state’s interest comes first, all should forget political rivalry and unite. “During his recent Bali (Indonesia) visit, the Prime Minister had mentioned Odisha’s name several times. But it’s unfortunate that the Odisha government did not thank the Prime Minister even once.”
Pradhan said: “It’s not the tradition of Odisha. And today’s event was only possible due to the efforts of the Prime Minister. I am sure the chief minister is not aware of all these things.”