Biju Pattnaik (1916-1997), a selfless social reformer and politician, had strived for the betterment of the people of Orissa
. He was born in Cuttack
in 1916. He completed his education from Cuttack Mission School, Revenshaw Collegiate School and Revenshaw College. While in college he enrolled for pilot training and later served the Indian National Air Force as an airplane pilot.
He was the pioneer of the Industrial movement in Orissa and was the head of Air Transport command during the war (1940-42). For transporting freedom fighters in his plane he was jailed from 1943 to 1945. Acknowledged internationally for his competence as a pilot, Biju Pattnaik holds the distinction of landing the first platoon of troops in Srinagar during attack by Pakistani raiders in 1947. For successfully bringing back the leaders associated with the independence of Indonesia from the hands of Dutch rulers, he was honored by the Indonesia Government as 'Bhumiputra' (son of the soil).
Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, he led the underground movement for freedom of the country along with Shri Jayaprakash Narayan and Rammanohar Lohia. Biju Pattnaik began his political career in 1946. He was elected to Orissa Legislative Assembly from 1952. He served as the Chief Minister of Orissa for two terms and was the Union Minister of Steel from July 1977 to January 1980. He was also the Member of Rajya Sabha from 1980-1984 and served the 11th Lok Sabha from 1996-1997.
An industrialist and a great visionary, Biju Pattnaik had taken major steps for the growth and development of Daitari Steel Plant, Rourkela Steel Plant, Sunabeda MIG fighter plane factory, Rourkela Engineering College and Paradip Port. He was also the founder of the Kalinga Foundation Trust in 1952 in the international level, on behalf of UNESCO, to inspire scientists all over the world.
A great visionary he had worked relentlessly for the upliftment of the people of Orissa. He urged his people to try to be forward and establish themselves. He passed away in 1997.