Biju Patnaik’s Iconic Dakota To Begin Its Journey To Odisha Capital

Bhubaneswar: The iconic Dakota DC-3, which legendary Biju Patnaik once flew to rescue the then Indonesian Vice President and Prime Minister, will begin its journey back to the Odisha capital from Kolkata on Tuesday.

The transportation of the plane had to be deferred due to fog the previous day. The dismantling process of the DC-3 aircraft, lying dilapidated and abandoned at Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata for decades, was completed recently and it was expected to arrive in Bhubaneswar on January 16. The aircraft is around 64 feet 8 inches long with wings that extend to 95 feet.

The Transport and Commerce department has roped in Odisha police and asked them to coordinate with their West Bengal counterpart to ensure the safe passage of the parts of the aircraft weighing over 8 tonne, which will be brought to Biju Patnaik International Airport (BPIA) here on two open trucks.

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has already allotted 1.1 acres of land where the Dakota plane will be parked for public viewing.

Though tender was floated to shift the plane to the state capital in 2020, the process was delayed due to the COVID-19 lockdown.

According to historian Anil Dhir, the former chief minister used this aircraft to rescue the then Prime Minister of Indonesia Sutan Sjahrir in July 1947. Indonesia twice awarded Biju Patnaik with the highest civilian honour, the “Bhumiputra.”

Biju Patnaik had founded Kalinga Airlines, which operated nearly a dozen Dakotas from its headquarters in Kolkata.

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