Bansidhar Panda, the well-known industrialist from Odisha and founder of Indian Metals and Ferro Alloys Ltd (IMFA), passed away at his Bhubaneswar residence on Tuesday. He was 87.
Panda is survived by his children, Member of Parliament Baijayant Panda and Subhrakant Panda, Paramita Mahapatra and Nita Ganapati. Political leaders across party lines, including Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, extended their condolences to the family.
With a degree from Benaras Hindu University, Panda left for the United States in the fifties to study at Michigan Technological University and Harvard University. On returning from the US where he worked as a researcher, he established IMFA starting with a plant at Therubali in the then remote and backward district of Koraput in 1961.
The decision to become an entrepreneur and set out to build something as ambitious as an integrated ferroalloy plant in the early sixties is why many consider him as the father figure of industry in Odisha. Panda was friends with the late Biju Patnaik who had similarly embarked on several industrial projects, convinced that that was how the state could be freed form its burden of poverty.
Beyond business, he is also known for his philanthropic activities and love for literature. Much before the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Panda has been instrumental in instilling the culture of inclusive growth in IMFA.