Former Minister Sriballav Panigrahi’s 83rd birthday commemorated at his birthplace

Noted Congress Leader and former Minister & Member of Parliament Late Sriballav Panigrahi’s 83rd Birthday was celebrated today at his birthplace, Bargaon, located about 19 kilometres away from Sambalpur.

Sriballav was born on the 2nd of September, 1940 in Bargaon in a freedom fighter’s family. Born to Shri Narsing Panigrahi and Smt. Sakrabati Panigrahi, he went on the path of public life and served the people in various capacities (Minitser, Member of Parliament, MLA etc.)

One of the high points of his career was when became a Cabinet minister in the Nandini Satpathy Govt in 1973 at the age of 32. He was widely believed to be the youngest cabinet minister in India at that point in time. During his 3 terms in the Lok Sabha, he was regarded a very powerful Member of Parliament, often speaking on important debates. He was also made the Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Petroleum & Chemicals. Heading one of Odisha’s largest trade unions : The Odisha Collieries Mazdoor Sangh (OCMS), he was a leading figure of the trade union movement in India. Education was also close to his heart and till his death in 2015, he headed the New Life Education Trust (NLET) which ran over 350 Aurobindo schools across Odisha.

A commemorative function was held at the Veer Surendra Sai High School in Bargaon. Incidentally the same school was founded by Sriballav in 1983. The name ‘Veer Surendra Sai’ was also given by Sriballav.

The function was presided over by Senior Teacher of the school Shri Chittaranjan Pujari and started with floral tributes being offered to Sriballav’s portrait.

The chief guest at the function was noted journalist Shri Subhas Chandra Panigrahi who is Sriballav’s younger brother. Shri Subhas Panigrahi is also the president of the managing committee of the school.

In his address Subhas talked about Sriballav’s immense contribution to the development of Odisha, particularly Western Odisha. A Gandhian to the core, Sriballav’s honesty, integrity and stellar record as a Parliamentarian was talked about. Subhas also recalled Sriballav’s efforts in popularizing Sambalpuri language and culture. Sriballav raised the issue of recognition of Sambalpuri Language in the 8th Schedule of the constitution on the floor of the Lok Sabha.

Social Activist and Sriballav’s nephew Rajib Kumar Panigrahi also spoke on the occasion. He said that his uncle’s unique and spotless personality continues to inspire a lot of people.

Tripathi in his closing remarks said that Sriballav is one of the tallest sons of Odisha and definitely the most illustrious personality from Western Odisha and that the school will continue to commemorate his birth anniversary every year.




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