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Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Environmentalist and organic farming proponent Radha Mohan dies at 78

Mohan was suffering from bronchial asthma along with other comorbidities and was admitted to the hospital earlier this week after his health deteriorated.

By: Express News Service | Bhubaneswar |
Updated: June 11, 2021 6:25:29 pm
Radha MohanProfessor Radha Mohan | Image tweeted by Jagannath Saraka (@saraka_fan)

Noted environmentalist and Padma Shri awardee Professor Radha Mohan, who helped popularise organic farming techniques, died at a private hospital in Bhubaneswar late Thursday night. He was 78 and is survived by three daughters.

A former Odisha Information Commissioner and a retired professor of economics, he and one of his daughters were credited with transforming a piece of wasteland into a vast forest, home to rare produce, using organic techniques.

The environmentalist, suffering from bronchial asthma and other comorbidities, was admitted to the hospital earlier this week after his condition deteriorated.

He was awarded the Padma Shri along with his daughter Sabarmatee in 2020 for their contribution to the agriculture sector.  Back in 1990, the father-daughter duo founded ‘Sambhav’, a social organisation aimed at educating farmers on organic and natural farming.

They transformed the 36 hectares of wasteland in Nayagarh district’s Odagaon using ecological waste to create fertile topsoil. That land now boasts of more than 1,000 plant species including rare ones such as clove bean and black rice. It also supports a bank of 700 indigenous seed varieties.

Born in 1943 in Nayagarh district, Radha Mohan pursued his graduation and post-graduation in economics. He was appointed the State Information Commissioner and also taught economics in various colleges of the state. He also worked as a member of the State Planning Board, Advisory Committee, State Watershed Mission, Task Force on Education, State Wildlife Advisory Committee, NSS Advisory Committee, Steering Committee on Joint Forest Management and the State Pollution Control Board.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: “Prof Radha Mohan ji was deeply passionate about agriculture, especially adopting sustainable and organic practices. He was also respected for his knowledge on subjects relating to the economy and ecology. Saddened by his demise. Condolences to his family and admirers.”

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik also tweeted: “Deeply saddened to know the passing away of Gandhian and Padma Shri awardee Prof Radha Mohan. An economist turned environmentalist had a distinguished contribution to sustainable organic farming. My thoughts and prayers are with the bereaved family members and well-wishers.”

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