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Netaji airport bust cracked

Barely three months after its installation, cracks have appeared in the neck of Netaji Subhas Chandra Boseís marble bust at the domestic terminal building of the city airport, named after the national leader.

Civil aviation minister Syed Shahnawaz Hussain had unveiled the bust on Netajiís birth anniversary on January 23. Hussain had touched down in Calcutta from Kishengunj with the sole purpose of attending the programme. He had left for Delhi within five minutes.

The decision to instal Netajiís bust at the airport follows a recent Union government directive to display busts of national heroes and leaders in Parliament, museums, airports and other Central government establishments.

The BJP, keen to find a toehold in communist-ruled Bengal, never lets go of an opportunity to remind the Leftists of their earlier criticism of Netaji.

Senior airport officials, including acting director J. Kongari, and deputy general manager (airport) B.K. Goswami, first noticed the cracks on the two-and-a-half-foot-high bust while on a routine survey of the domestic and international terminal buildings recently.

The bust, set on a three-foot platform, is installed in the visitorsí and passengersí lounge of the domestic terminal building, a yard away from the main entry gate.

Kongari has directed his engineering department chief, P.S. Banerjee, to probe the matter. Investigations revealed that cracks had developed as the bust was sculpted in a hurry. It was estimated to cost Rs 30,000, but payment is yet to be made. Last December, Banerjee was compelled to commission the job to a group of lesser-known sculptors after some big names made known their inability to deliver Netajiís bust in only a monthís time. Hussain said on Sunday he would look into the matter.

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