Renowned industrialist and founder of Indian Metals & Ferro Alloys Ltd (IMFA) Bansidhar Panda passed away at his residence here today, family sources said. He was 87 and predeceased by his wife Ila Panda.Born in 1931, research scientist Dr. Panda had envisioned the industrial growth of the State by using its huge mineral resources after his return from the United States of America. His IMFA choose Therubali, a remote outpost in the undivided Koraput district to embark upon the dreams of its founder Chairman. IMFA was realised in 1961.
Dr. Panda had received Degrees from Benaras Hindu University, Harvard University and Michigan Technological University. He was conferred with honoris causa by the National Institute of Technology (NIT) at Rourkela in 2015. He was pathfinder and instrumental in setting up industries that contributed to Odisha’s development in a big way. He was a pioneer visionary to bring industrial revolution in Odisha.
Dr. Panda was also known for his philanthropic activities and love for literature. Much before the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) became mandatory for the industries; he was instrumental in instilling the CRS culture of inclusive growth in the IMFA. He was instrumental in instituting ‘Sarala Award’ for literature and ‘Ekalabya Puruskar’ for sports, which are recognised as coveted awards in their respective fields.
Although Dr. Panda was very close to former Chief Minister Biju Patnaik, he stayed away from politics, but his wife Ila Panda, was elected to Rajya Sabha from 1992 to 1998. She died on 11 January 2005 at the age of 72.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik expressed his grief over the demise of Dr. Panda and conveyed his deep sympathy to the bereaved family. Union Ministers Jual Oram and Dharmendra Pradhan, former Chief Minister Hemanand Biswal, Odisha Pradesh Congress president Niranjan Patnaik, BJP state unit president Basanta Panda, leader of BJP legislature party K V Singhdeo and several others have expressed their condolence.
A large number of people from all walks of life also paid their last respects to the departed soul.