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

    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
    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,
    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

(This story has not been edited by THE WEEK and is auto-generated from PTI)