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The Tourism and Culture Minister of Odisha, Shri Ashok Chandra Panda met the Union Minister of State for Culture (Independent Charge), Tourism (Independent Charge), Civil Aviation, Dr. Mahesh Sharma in New Delhi today. Shri Panda briefed the Minister about the potential for giving boost to tourism in the state by promoting the rich cultural heritage of the stateand improving connectivity. Sh. Panda sought help from the Union Tourism and Culture Minister to set up a Tagore Cultural Complex, Odisha dance Museum in memory of Guru Kelucharan Mahapatra, and also setting up an International Museum Day at Puri. He further requested the release of funds worth Rs. 8 crore for 8 Projects for which utilization certificates have already been sent to the Union Ministry of Tourism. Some of these important projects include development of Buddhist Circuit, Silk Route, development of Golden Triangle among others.

Shri Ashok Panda said that connectivity is an important factor tofacilitate the growth of tourism to a destination. Although Bhubneswar was declared an International Airport in 2013 and has a new state of the art terminal, there is no International flight from the Airport till date, he said. Shri Panda requested that International carriers be allowed to operate from Bhuwaneswar Airport and as well as Air India should also operate an international flight from there. Dr. Mahesh Sharma appreciated the efforts being made by the State of Odisha to promote Culture and Tourism and generate employment and income for the local people. Dr Sharma said that the demands of the state are genuine and assured all possible help of the Central Government to the State of Odisha.