Odisha: Radha Mohan, a former Odisha information commissioner and retired professor of economics who had turned a barren patch of land into the lush forest and popularised organic farming, passed away at a private hospital in Bhubaneswar late Thursday night. He was 78 and was survived by three daughters.
Radha Mohan, who retired as a professor of economics, was suffering from bronchial asthma along with other co-morbidities and was admitted to the hospital a few days ago when his health deteriorated. Radha Mohan and his conservationist daughter Sabarmatee were awarded Padma Shri in the field of agriculture for their sterling work in organic farming.
Three decades ago, the father-daughter duo started Sambhav, a resource center for farmers where many vanishing food crops such as clove bean, jack bean, black rice, and sword bean were grown through organic means.
They began by buying an acre of degraded land in Nayagarh district and started planting trees on it. Over time, that one-acre land transformed into 890 acres of forestation with three rainwater harvesting ponds and 500 varieties of rice. It is also home to nearly 1,000 species of plants including trees such as mango, lichi, jackfruit, chiku, and several timber varieties.
Radha Mohan was appointed as state information commissioner in 2011 after his retirement as the principal of SCS College. The state government also awarded him with Utkal Seva Samman for his outstanding social service. He also got UNEP’s ‘The Global Roll of Honour’ for his distinguished work for the environment.