Eminent industrialist G.P. Birla passed away here on Friday night.

He was 87 and is survived by wife Nirmala, son Chandra Kant and daughter Lekha Poddar. The group, which is now looked after by C.K. Birla, spans automobiles, engineering, cement and paper, among other sectors.

Son of B.M. Birla, G.P. Birla had helped to set up large industrial units such as Orient Paper and Industries, Hyderabad Industries and Nigeria Engineering Works. The other companies of the group are Hindustan Motors, BirlaSoft, Avtec and Indian Smelting.

G.P. Birla was also involved in the setting up of landmark educational institutions and scientific museum such as the Modern High School for Girls, the Birla Institute of Technology in Ranchi, the Birla Archaeological and Cultural Research Institute and the Birla Science and Technological Museum here.

“One of his guiding philosophies was that the role of industry was not just a means of wealth creation but, in fact, a way to improve the lives of the community,” an official communication said. At least, two of the top city hospitals — the B.M. Birla Heart Research Centre and the Calcutta Medical Research Institute, one of the first speciality hospitals of the city — were set up at his initiative.

Associated with the name of G.P. Birla are some magnificent temples in Hyderabad, Jaipur and Bhopal. The group has liberally supported the renovation of places of historical, architectural and religious importance to preserve the country's cultural heritage. He was honoured with the Padma Bhusan in 2006.

The cremation took place on Saturday in the presence of the family patriarch and his cousin, Basant Kumar (90), his nephew S.K. Birla and his son Siddharth. B.K. Birla's grandson Kumar Mangalam was also present, as was C.K. Birla, sources in ‘Birla Building' said.

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