Biju Patnaik’s Iconic Dakota Plane To Be Brought From Bengal To Odisha

by Vaishalee Kalvankar
Biju Patnaik’s Iconic Dakota Plane To Be Brought From Bengal To Odisha

The Odisha government is all set to bring the iconic Dakota plane that belonged to former Chief Minister Biju Patnaik back to the state. The aircraft currently is lying at the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose (NSCB) International Airport in Kolkata.  Airport Authority of India (AAI) agreed to give away 1.1 acre land on the premises of Odisha government for the aircraft.

Biju Patnaik’s Iconic Plane

The government of Odisha has been making efforts to bring the plane to the state for the last two years. A tender too was sent out for the initiative but the plans were stalled owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the recent meeting, the AAI has agreed to lease a piece of land for setting up a memorial. The aircraft will be kept there for display. The aircraft is 8 inches and 64 feet in height. Its wings are stretching to 95 feet. It will be dismantled and transported to Bhubaneswar from Kolkata airport.The parts will be reassembled once they reach Odisha.

biju patnaik
Pic Credits: NDTV

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A Skilled Pilot

The director of Biju Patnaik International Airport (BPIA), Prasanna Pradhan said that AAI has green signalled their proposal of creating a memorial. The memorial will be a tribute to Biju Patnaik. He was a skilled pilot apart from being a social reformer and politician. He had undertaken many high-risk operations during India’s struggle for Independence. Patnaik was fond of Dakota planes. Historian Anil Dhir informed that Biju flew down on this Dakota plane to rescue the then Indonesia’s Prime Minister and Vice President in April 1947. He was twice awarded Indonesia’s highest civilian award ‘Bhumiputra’. He was a member of the Royal Indian Air Force under British Rule.

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Cover Image Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons