BHUBANESWAR: Noted industrialist and founder of Indian Metal and Ferro Alloys (IMFA) Bansidhar Panda passed away at his residence in the city on Tuesday.
He was 87 and predeceased by his wife Ila Panda. Panda is survived by two sons and two daughters. His elder son Baijayant Panda is a member of Lok Shaba while younger son Subhrakant Panda is the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of IMFA.
Panda, a research scientist, envisioned the industrial growth of Odisha by using its huge mineral resources after his return from the United States and chose Therubali, a remote outpost in the undivided Koraput district to embark upon his dream. IMFA was realised in 1961.
Panda’s desire to bring a change in the society led him to philanthropic activities in the field of education, vocational training, basic healthcare, water and sanitation and infrastructure development. He was instrumental in instituting Sarala Award for literature and Ekalabya Puraskar for sports which are now recognised as the highest achievements in their respective fields. Although Panda was very close to former Chief Minister Biju Patnaik, he stayed away from politics. However, his wife was a Rajya Sabha member from 1992 to 1998.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik expressed his grief over the demise of Panda and conveyed his deep sympathy to the bereaved family. Apart from the CM, Union Ministers Jual Oram and Dharmendra Pradhan, former chief minister Hemanand Biswal, OPCC president Niranjan Patnaik, BJP State unit president Basanta Panda, leader of BJP legislature party KV Singhdeo and several others have expressed their condolence over Panda’s death.A large number of people from all walks of life paid their last respects to the departed soul.