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Biju Patnaik’s iconic Dakota aircraft to be brought to Odisha soon from Kolkata

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Government has already initiated process to bring back the iconic aircraft of Biju Patnaik which is lying in a dilapidated condition at the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose (NSCB) International Airport in Kolkata.

Biju Babu had once used his favourite plane to rescue erstwhile Indonesian Vice President Muhammad Hatta and Prime Minister Sutan Sjahrir from enemy clutches in July 1947.

Process has already been initiated and PDW has been assigned to float tender, Transport Minister Padmanabha Behera said.

After the aircraft is brought back, it will be kept besides the statue of Biju Babu in front of the airport at Bhubaneswar for public view.

“The State government has written to the Centre seeking permission for the installation of the plane near Biju Babu’s statue at Bhubaneswar airport. It will be kept there for public view in the memory of legendary leader,” Behera said.

The DC-3 aircraft has been lying in a neglected corner of NSCB International Airport, Kolkata as piece of scrap.

The Dakota aircraft is not only a prize possession of Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s father, but also bears importance for the people of the State. Bringing back his favourite aircraft would be a fitting tribute to Biju Babu who was well known for his piloting acumen, researchers said.

According to sources, the aircraft was a part of the fleet of 18 Dakota planes of Kalinga Airlines which was formed by him.

All the planes of Kalinga Airlines had been used in ferrying troops to Srinagar and carrying army equipment during the Kashmir Operation in 1947-48, researchers said.

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