Eminent Bhoodan leader and social worker Biswanath Patnaik, 94, passed away at Baliguda in Orissa's Kandhamal district on Monday.
A close associate of Vinoba Bhave, Patnaik, was popularly known as the “Koraputia Gandhi” for his outstanding socio-economic work in southern Orissa during the last 50 years.
He died of age-related ailments at the Banabasi Seba Samity, a leading NGO, founded by him, Samity sources said. He was born in 1916 at Kumarada village in Ganjam district.
Recipient of the prestigious Jamunalal Bajaj Award for 2008, he was actively associated with a number of organisations including Utkal Naba Jiban Mandal. He was the president of the Utkal Khadi Mandal.
Patnaik was also the recipient of the Sarala Award, Raj Kishore Dash Samman, Pradyumna Bala Samman, Kandhamal Citizen Forum felicitation.
Besides the Samity at Balliguda, he founded about a dozen NGOs in tribal-dominated undivided Phulbani and Koraput districts.
As the news about his demise spread, a large number of admirers and followers thronged the Samity to pay their last respects. His last rites will be performed at Balliguda on Tuesday.