The iconinc Dakota DC-3 used by former Odisha chief minister Biju Patnaik to rescue former Indonesian Vice-President Muhammad Hatta and Prime Minister Sutan Sjahrir from their enemies in 1947 would be brought to Odisha and converted into a museum.
Patnaik's acumen as a pilot was recognised by the government of Indonesia, which honoured him with the title of 'Bhumi Putra.
We have written to the chief secretary of Odisha and they replied immediately saying they want to bring the aircraft back. Odisha government officials will visit the Kolkata airport and study its condition before shifting it, Airport Authority of India chairman Guruprasad Mohapatra, who was recently in the state, told reporters.
Officials said the state government is in touch with the AAI and authorities of Netaji Subhas Bose International NSC Bose Airport in Kolkata on ways to shift the aircraft to Odisha.
There are proposals to keep the 'Dakota' at the Biju Patnaik International Airport here, they said.
"We are also considering to keep the Dakota aircraft on an open field near Biju Bhavan in Cuttack, the birth place of the legendary leader," Cuttack district collector Sushant Mohapatra told reporters here.
Cuttack-Barabati MLA Debasis Samantray said the government would convert the aircraft into a museum so that people can enter it and see the daredevilry of the leader, who is fondly called 'Biju Babu' and even after two decades of his death occupies the imagination of the people.
Biju Patnaik, who also piloted the first plane that left Palam Airport at Delhi on October 27, 1947 and landed at Srinagar Airport in the early morning and brought back 17 soldiers of 1-Sikh regiment, had formed the Kalinga Airline that year.
The airline had 15 Dakota planes parked in its headquarters in Kolkata were were mainly used by the army for transportation of jawans deployed in Kashmir. Kalinga Airlines DC-3s were also used to drop supplies in the north-eastern region of the country, said Anil Dhir, a researcher.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)