Humble Tribute to Biju Babu, Legend of Odisha

Despite twenty years having passed since his death, the memory of Biju Patnaik continues to hold a strong place in the hearts of the people of Odisha.

On Sunday, Odisha honored the memory of Biju Patnaik, architect of modern Odisha, while his son and five-time Chief Minister, Naveen Patnaik, earlier in the day celebrated Biju Babu’s Birth Anniversary by unveiling the iconic Dakota plane at the Biju Patnaik International Airport.

Biju Patnaik served as the Chief Minister of Odisha on two occasions – in the mid-1960s and the first half of the 1990s. The government of Odisha recognized this day as ‘Panchayati Raj Day’ to commemorate Patnaik’s role in devolving power to the local level.

Biju Patnaik was also responsible for promoting women’s empowerment, as he introduced a policy of reserving 33% of seats for women in the three-tier panchayat elections during his tenure as Chief Minister from 1990 to 1995, which was the first of its kind in the country.

Bijayananda Patnaik, was a notable Indian figure who served as a politician, aviator, and businessman.

Naveen Patnaik, son of Biju Patnaik and a five-time Chief Minister, had earlier described his father as the embodiment of Odia pride. He emphasized that his father had dedicated his life to serving the people and preserving the pride of the Odia community.

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Even after two decades since his passing, the name of Biju Patnaik remains deeply ingrained in the hearts of every Odia. He is undoubtedly the most well-known figure in Odisha, having served as the state’s Chief minister, in addition to being a pilot, visionary, and popular leader. Biju Patnaik, fondly referred to as “Biju Babu,” is remembered for his fearless acts, which have left a lasting impact.

Dakota aircraft symbolizes Odisha’s aviation legacy and Biju Patnaik’s courage and heroism.

The legendary Dakota aircraft (VT-AUI), which has become synonymous with Biju Patnaik’s heroism, was unveiled at the Biju Patnaik International Airport in Odisha by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. Biju Patnaik, a former Chief Minister of Odisha, founded Kalinga Airlines, which operated nearly a dozen Dakotas, with himself serving as Chief Pilot.

Patnaik used this particular aircraft to rescue former Indonesian Vice-President Md. Hatta and former Prime Minister Sutan Sjahrir, for which he was awarded an honorary citizenship of Indonesia and the title of “BHUMI PUTRA” by the Indonesian Government, a recognition rarely granted to a foreigner.

Since the Dakota aircraft is closely linked with Biju Patnaik, it will represent Odisha’s rich aviation history and serve as a fitting tribute to one of the state’s most iconic figures. This aircraft will be a symbol of Biju Patnaik’s bravery and heroism, serving as a constant reminder of his contributions to the nation.

The Government of Odisha made sincere efforts to shift the Dakota aircraft from NSCBI Airport, Kolkata to Bhubaneswar on 18.01.2023 via road. The display of this aircraft will inspire the people of Odisha to dream big and continue to strive for greatness.

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