Bhubaneswar, Feb 4: Veteran politician and ace pilot Biju Patnaik’s favourite Dakota plane will be placed near the late leader’s statue on Biju Patnaik International Airport road, said a transport official on Tuesday.
Efforts are on to bring Biju Patnaik’s favourite Dakota plane, which was rusting at Kolkata airport, to Odisha and place around the late leader’s statue near Bhubaneswar airport for the preservation of memories of the legendary figure, the official said.
The department has initiated the process to bring the plane following a high level meeting chaired by the state’s Chief Secretary Asit Kumar Tripathy last month.
The meeting had decided to bring the Dakota plane, but the place where it will be kept was not decided.
The Dakota plane was very favourite of Biju and he used to use it personally. Biju, an ace pilot during the Britsh days, rescued several national and international leaders including Sukarno of Indonesia during their freedom movement. So this aeroplane had been an unforgettable part of Biju’s life.
However, it became defunct over the years and has been lying as waste at Kolkata airport. Demands are being raised to bring the ramshackle aircraft to Odisha and place it in Biju birth place museum at Ananda Bhawan in Cuttack. The state government had also supported the demand and the state Culture department had reportedly placed Rs 10 crore in the departmental budget in the past. However, the allotted funds have returned to state exchequer as the proposal did not materialise at that time.
However, the state government had renewed its interest and taken a formal decision to bring Biju’s Dakota aeroplane to Odisha to preserve it as a memorial.