BHUBANESWAR: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday requested the Centre to organise air shows by the Indian Air Force personnel in the State as part of Biju Patnaik Birth Centenary celebrations.
“This will not only provide a rare opportunity to the people of Odisha to witness the grand spectacle, but will also inspire youths of the State to join the Indian Air Force,” the Chief Minister said in a letter to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.
He requested the Indian Air Force to display Surya Kiran AT, Sarang and Akash Ganga performance in December, 2016 over the vast stretch of Kathjodi river bed at Cuttack, the birth place of the legendary leader.
Naveen said Surya Kiran AT and Akash Ganga performance had been conducted by the Indian Air Force in January, 2010 at the same spot during National Youth Festival which was witnessed by about three lakh people of Cuttack and Bhubaneswar. He assured that all logistic support for these air shows will be provided by the State Government.
The State Government has undertaken a year-long celebration starting from March 5, to mark the birth centenary year of Biju Patnaik.
“As you may be aware, Biju Patnaik was an aviator par excellence, known for his daring display of courage in evacuating stranded Britishers in Burma to safety during the second World War,” Naveen said in the letter.
Biju Patnaik also made a daring flight to Indonesia in 1948 to rescue two key Indonesian Independence leaders from a remote hideout and flew them to India by eluding the Dutch colonial rulers, he said.
These daring missions which Biju Patnaik undertook, first with Royal Indian Air Force (RIAF) and later with Indian National Airways, earned him the sobriquet of ‘Daredevil’, he added.