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Odisha's chisel falls silent as Raghunath Mohapatra dies at 78

·2-min read

Bhubaneswar, May 9 (PTI) Rajya Sabha MP Raghunath Mohapatra, who is also one of the leading stone sculptors of India, breathed his last on Sunday at AIIMS-Bhubaneswar, days after he tested positive for COVID-19, a senior official at the hospital said. He was 78.

The Padma Vibhusan awardee is survived by two sons, Prashant and Jasobant, both of them undergoing treatment for COVID-19 at the same facility, he said.

A team of four doctors was attending to him at the hospital, where he was admitted on April 22.

'The parliamentarian was on April 25 shifted to ICU as his condition deteriorated. He was also put on ventilator but that, too, failed to improve his condition,' the official added.

Dr Gitanjali Batmanabane, director, AIIMS Bhubaneswar, said despite all valiant efforts by the doctors, Mohapatra lost the battle and died at 3.49 pm.

Sources close to Mohapatra said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had earlier this week called up one of his sons to enquire about his health condition.

Among others, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Odisha Governor Ganeshi Lal, Andhra Pradesh Governor B B Harichandan, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Pratap Sarangi expressed their condolences over the demise of Mohapatra.

Taking to Twitter, Modi said, 'Saddened by the demise of MP Shri Raghunath Mohapatra Ji. He made pioneering contributions to the world of art, architecture and culture.

He will be remembered for his contributions towards popularising traditional crafts. My thoughts are with his family and admirers. Om Shanti.' Announcing that the MP will be cremated with full state honours, Patnaik said, 'Mohapatra will always be remembered for his profound contribution to Odisha in the field of art and heritage. I extend my deep sympathy to the bereaved family. May his soul rest in peace.' Born on March 24, 1943 at Sasan Padia village in Puri district, Mohapatra was awarded Padma Shri in 1975, Padma Bhushan in 2001 and Padma Vibhushan in 2013. He was nominated by the Ministry of External Affairs as a member of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) in 2000.

Mohapatra was among the four personalities nominated to the Rajya Sabha by the President of India on July 14, 2018.

He has also served as a senior instructor and superintendent of the Handicraft Training & Designing Centre, Bhubaneswar.

His prominent works include a six-feet-tall sandstone statue of the Sun God carved at the Central Hall of Parliament, New Delhi, and a wooden sculpture of Buddha at a temple in Paris.

Mohapatra's dream of creating a second Konark Temple at the outskirts of Bhubaneswar, however, remained unfulfilled, said veteran Congress MLA Suresh Routray.

'As the original monument has already undergone much wear and tear, he wanted to create a replica of the Konark Temple for the future generations,' Routray added. PTI AAM RMS RMS