Cuttack: The Odisha government has decided to bring the abandoned ‘Dakota’ aircraft, which was flown by former Chief Minister Biju Patnaik, to Cuttack from Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata.
Informing about it, Barabati-Cuttack MLA Debasish Samantaray said, “The aircraft will be dismantled into three pieces and brought to Cuttack. It will be assembled here. We will install seats inside the aircraft and reconstruct it for public view.”
“The ‘Dakota’ will be parked at the ground in front of Anand Bhavan, the ancestral house of Biju Patnaik at Tulsipur here,” said Cuttack Collector Susanta Mohapatra.
Biju Patnaik, who was known for his daredevilry act as a pilot, had formed the Kalinga Airline in 1947. The airline had 15 Dakota planes parked at its headquarters in Kolkata. The aircrafts were chiefly used by the army for transport of jawans deployed in Kashmir. Kalinga Airline’s DC-3s were also used to drop supplies at north-eastern area of the country and providing services to the army personnel in north-east area of the country.
Patnaik came to limelight after he rescued former Indonesian Vice President Muhammad Hatta and Prime Minister Sutan Sjahrir from their enemies on July 22, 1947. He was credited with making the landing at Srinagar on Oct 27 in the year.
Later, the Indonesia government acknowledged his contribution by honouring Biju Babu with ‘Bhumi Putra’ title for his chivalry.
The abandoned Dakota DC-3 is now parked at Kolkata airport since 1947.