Bhubaneswar: Finally, the process has begun to bring the Dakota aircraft of legendary leader Biju Patnaik from Kolkata airport to Odisha following an approval by the Airport Authority of India (AAI).
While the authorities of the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport have begun cleaning the nearby areas of the aircraft, the dismantling of the aircraft will begin in the third week of October. The dismantled parts of the aircraft will be brought to Bhubaneswar and reassembled in the first week of November.
Notably, the Odisha government had begun the process to bring the aircraft last year. On January 21 this year, the then Commerce and Transport Secretary, Premanand Khuntia, had written to the AAI to seek its permission in the matter.
Following the AAI’s approval, a Kolkata-based company, Neelu Interiors, was given the contract for shifting the aircraft to Bhubaneswar.
As per the contract, the company will bring the dismantled aircraft to Bhubaneswar by road and reassemble it on the premises of the Biju Patnaik International Airport.
The company head, Neelu Chakraborty, told the media that as the aircraft is kept near the runway, the airport authorities in Kolkata had earlier restricted the use of gas cutter machine for dismantling the aircraft.
“The airport authorities have informed me that they will give permission to use the gas cutter either on November 21 or 22. I feel extremely fortunate that my company has been awarded the contract for the dismantling and reassembling of the aircraft of the legendary leader,” Chakraborty added.
Out of 18 Dakota VT-AVI aircraft of the erstwhile Kalinga Airlines owned by Biju Patnaik, 12 have been completely damaged. Of the six remaining aircraft, one is kept at Kolkata airport, one at Chhatrapati Sivaji International Airport in Mumbai and the Indonesian government has kept one. However, there is no information about the remaining three aircraft.