Odisha govt writes to AAI over procurement of Dakota aircraft

Bhubaneswar: Odisha government on Tuesday wrote to the Airport Authority of India (AAI) expressing its willingness to procure an old Dakota DC3 (VT-AUI) aircraft and bring it to Bhubaneswar from Kolkata.

Premanada Khuntia, Additional Secretary to Government of Odisha (Commerce and Transport) Department has written to the Chairman of Airport Authority of India, in this regard. 

"Government of Odisha is pleased to take over Dakota DC3 (VT-AUI) Aircraft belonging to the Erstwhile Kalinga Airlines, which was founded by Ex-Chief Minister of Odisha (late) Biju Patnaik," Khuntia said in his letter dated January 21. 

"It is has been decided to bring back the Dakota Aircraft from Kolkata to Bhubaneswar and to be displayed at Biju Patnaik International (PBI) Airport Bhubaneswar, as a befitting tribute to the legend," he added in his letter.

Khuntia also requested to the AAI to assist the state government and accord the necessary permission in this regard. 

Presently, this aircraft is parked in an abandoned state at Netaji Subash Chandra Boss International Airport Kolkata. 

Biju Patnaik has used this Dakota Aircraft to rescue former Indonesian Vice-President and then Prime Minister Sutan Sjahrir from Dutch Military back in 1947. 

This Aircraft was a part of the fleet of 18 Dakota Planes of Kalinga Airlines used in the Kashmir operation in 1947-48 for ferrying troops to Srinagar and carrying medical assistant and other supplies. 

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