Bhubaneswar, May 22 (LocalWire): On the 2nd death anniversary of noted industrialist and founder of Indian Metals and Ferro Alloys (IMFA) Dr. Bansidhar Panda, here are few facts that everyone should know about the man who is considered the architect of the modern industrial revolution in Odisha.
1) Born in 1931, Dr. Bansidhar Panda got his degree from Banaras Hindu University before pursuing higher education at the Michigan Technological University and Harvard University in the USA.
2) While working in the field of metallurgical research in the USA, he experienced first-hand the power of applied science in transforming a nation and its people, which is what inspired him to come back to Odisha as an entrepreneur.
3) In 1961, Panda set up his first plant (IMFA) in Therubali, a backward region in undivided Koraput; his dream was to uplift the people of Odisha through utilizing the vast mineral resources of the state.
4) Panda was known for his friendship with former Chief Minister of Odisha Biju Patnaik; it is believed that he was influenced by the latter to invest in Odisha.
5) In mid-1980s, Panda helped out Biju Patnaik while the latter was in a tight spot, by buying the properties of Kalinga Tubes and setting up his second IMFA plant at Choudwar.
6) Biju Patnaik nominated Ila Panda (wife of Bansidhar Panda) to the Rajya Sabha and also introduced his son, Baijayant Panda, to politics.
7) As a businessman, Dr. Panda proved his grit and acumen in the early 90s, when he fought with the Tatas in court to acquire chromite mining rights, which up until then were held exclusively by Tata Steel.
8) Dr. Panda was a board member of Air India and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited; he was also chairman of the board of governors of NIT Rourkela and board member of IIT Kharagpur and IIM Kolkata.
9) Dr. Panda’s desire to bring about change in the society made him a great philanthropist; the prestigious Sarala Puraskar for literature and Ekalabya Award for sports were instituted by Dr. Panda in 1979 and 1993 respectively. These are now recognized as the highest awards in Odisha in their respective fields.
10) Much before the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility, Dr. Panda was instrumental in instilling the culture of inclusive growth in IMFA, because of which, IMFA has continued to do commendable work in the field of education, vocational training, basic healthcare, water and sanitation and infrastructure development.
Dr. Panda’s vision has been described on the website of IMFA as, “When I was working in the United States of America as a research scientist, every moment of my professional life I experienced the power of applied science transforming that nation and its people from obscurity to excellence in many instances and in every human endeavour.
I dreamt a pure and panoramic view of realising such a transformation for my country in general and my impoverished State of Odisha in particular.
When I got an opportunity to pursue my dream, I had no hesitation in disengaging myself from my important assignments and returned with a mission to work towards and assist in building a modern, vibrant Odisha.
Promoting IMFA, whether in the most backward tribal area of India or near the cultural centre of the State, is only a small but important aspect of my vision.
As a scientist, I have pursued the Gandhian principle of changing as many lives I interact with as possible although the limitations of such a principle are severe even in the land of Gandhi. But, a vision lasts forever…..”