Bhubaneswar, Jan 15. Veteran politician and ace pilot Biju Patnaik’s favourite Dakota aircraft will be brought to Odisha soon to commemorate the memories of the legendary figure. The aircraft is now lying as junk in Kolkata aircraft.
The state government has initiated efforts to this effect and frequent meetings are being held with the state government and related agencies for this purpose.
It has been decided that the parts of the aircraft will be dismembered at Kolkata and will be brought here. Then the parts will be assembled here and the aircraft will be kept at a special place in Biju Patnaik international airport here to preserve the memories of the valour of the legendary figure.
Meanwhile, the state government has geared up its efforts to this effect and a meeting is scheduled to be held under the chairmanship of the state’s chief secretary tomorrow.
There were 14 aircrafts under Kalinga Airlines, which was founded by Biju Patnaik. Among them, Dakota plane was most favourite of Biju. He used to use it for himself. Even, Biju used to fly it during World War II to rescue several national and international leaders including Sukarno of Indonesia.
Subsequently there was no trace of the Dakota aircraft. However, it was located suddenly at Kolkata airport following which historian Anil Dhir drew the attention of the state government. Then demands were made to bring Biju’s favourite aeroplane to Odisha. Thereafter, the state government planned to bring the aircraft from Kolkata and place it in Biju’s birth place museum at Ananda Bhawan in Cuttack.
However, the plan was dropped in view of lack of space at Ananda Bhawan museum. Later, it was planned to keep it at Biju Patnaik international airport. The state Culture department had placed Rs 10 crore in the budget for this.
However, the allotted funds returned to the state exchequer as there was no progress in this regard. But the Kolkata airport authorities have started disposing off old aircrafts at scrap rate from last year to free the space occupied by these planes lying unproductive since several years. Recently, an old Boeing plane was disposed off at scrap rate after lying at the airport for five years.
Another dozen old aircrafts including Biju’s favourite Dakota plan are lying unused at Kolkata airport. The Airport Authority of India (AAI) has been contacting the Odisha government in this regard. Finally, the state government has shown interest of late and entrusted the state transport department to bring the aircraft to Odisha.
Reliable sources said the transport department was exploring ways to bring the aircraft to Odisha. It is being contemplated to dismember the aircraft and its parts will be brought to Odisha by road route as it is not possible to transport the aircraft as it is. The parts will be assembled here and will be given the original shape of the aircraft. It will then be repainted. Thereafter, the Dakota plane will be kept at a strategic place in the Biju Patnaik international airport so that the tourists will have a glance at the memoir..