AAI Approves Land In Bhubaneswar Airport For Memorial To Showcase Biju Patnaik’s Dakota

Bhubaneswar: The Airport Authority of India (AAI) has approved Odisha government proposal to lease out land in Bhubaneswar airport for setting up a memorial to keep the iconic Dakota aircraft of legendary Biju Patnaik on display.

The government had initiated efforts to transport the aircraft from Kolkata to Odisha two years back and floated tender for the purpose. But it was delayed due to the COVID pandemic.

“The administration is now all set to complete the process as the AAI, at its recent board meeting, accepted the state government’s proposal to lease out 1.1 acre land for setting up the memorial where the aircraft will be put up for display,” a national news agency quoted a Home department official as saying.

According to official sources, the agency will dismantle the aircraft, presently parked in the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International (NSCBI) Airport in Kolkata, and bring the parts to Bhubaneswar on road. After assembling the parts again, the aeroplane will be put on display.

The aircraft, which is 64 feet and 8 inches long, with its wings stretching to 95 feet, was used by the former chief minister of Odisha in several daredevil operations. He had flown this aircraft to rescue Indonesia’s the then prime minister Sutan Sjahrir and vice-president Mohammad Hatta during a period of turmoil in the country in April 1947.

For his act of rare bravery and saving the lives of two prominent leaders of the country, the Indonesian government did declared him ‘Bhoomi Putra’ and instituted ‘Kalinga Prize’ in his honour.

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