Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jul 9:
Veteran Congress leader and former Odisha MP Sriballav Panigrahi passed away in a private hospital in Bengaluru this morning.
He was 74 and is survived by his wife Sunanda Panigrahi and two sons.
“Panigrahi had fallen ill since a week and was admitted to a private hospital in Bengaluru where he passed away at 8.31 AM today,” said his sister and BJD MLA of Sambalpur, Dr Raseswari Panigrahi.
The body of Panigrahi would be brought to Bhubaneswar and taken to the Congress Bhawan for party men to pay their last respects nefore being taken to Sambalpur where his mortal remains would be consigned to flames tomorrow.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has condoled the death of Panigrahi. “He was a prominent people’s leader and social worker and played a prominent role in the development of the state in his role as MLA, MP and minister. He held various portfolios like Education, Commerce, Law and Water Resources and discharged his responsibilities in each of them with commendable efficiency. He had a great reputation as man of impeccable honesty, sincerity and humility. In his death, Odisha has lost a great people’s leader,” the Chief Minister said in his condolence message while expressing his sympathies for the bereaved family.
Born on September 2, 1940 in a freedom fighter’s family at Bargaon in Sambalpur district, Sriballav was elected as a Member of Odisha Assembly in 1971 and 1974 from Sambalpur Assembly constituency.
He was the youngest cabinet minister at the age of 33 during the chief ministership of Nandini Satpathy.
He was also elected as the Member of Parliament from Deogarh Lok Sabha constituency in 1984, 1991 and 1996.
Known for his honesty, Panigrahi had played a vital role in the setting up of the Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL) at Sambalpur. Besides, his efforts in the setting up of a Railway Division at Sambalpur would be remembered for ever.
As an able Parliamentarian, Panigrahi was made the chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Petroleum and Chemicals from 1993 to 1996.
He was also a member of the Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP) Executive Committee (1991–1997), member of Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to probe the Securities Scam in 1992, member of the JPC on broadcasting (1996), member of the Estimates Committee, Consultative Committee (Ministry of Coal), chairman of the Energy Ministry probe committee and chairman, INTUC (Indian National Trade Union Congress) Parliamentary Forum (1993–97).
Panigrahi was also associated with several trade union activities. He was the member of the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC)’s National Working Committee, president of Odisha Colliery Mazdoor Sangh (INTUC) of MCL, vice president of the Indian National Mineworkers Federation, member of the Trust Board of Gandhi Labour Foundation Puri and member of National Safety Council.
Apart from this, he was also associated with several educational, social, cultural and spiritual organizations.
Prior to his death, he was the president of the New Life Education Trust for Promotion of Sri Aurobindo Integral Education in Odisha, national vice president of the All India Peace and Solidarity Organization (AIPSO) and the Indian Society for Cultural Cooperation and Friendship (ISCUF), general secretary of the All India Yoga Conference, chairman of State Gandhiji’s Satyagraha Celebration Committee.
He was also a member of the Senate and Syndicate of the Sambalpur University from 1969 to 1972 and editor of the Odia Daily Hirakhand from 1982 to 1984.