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Newsmakers 2022: People from Odisha who made it big

The year 2022 will remain etched in the memories of people of Odisha for various reasons.

Pradeep Pattanayak
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Newsmakers 2022: People from Odisha who made it bigPhotoPhoto: OTV

Newsmakers of 2022

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The year 2022 will be remembered for many reasons. There were several incidents and persons who made the year memorable.

Here are the persons from Odisha who emerged as Newsmakers in the year:

Droupadi Murmu

The year 2022 will remain etched in the memories of people, particularly of Odisha. Droupadi Murmu of Odisha became the President of India. Born in a nondescript village of Mayurbhanj district, Murmu is the first person from Odisha to become the first citizen of India. While she is the first President to be born after Independence, she is also the first tribal leader to hold the country’s top constitutional post.

She became the 15th President of India by defeating opposition candidate Yashwant Sinha. Her was not a life on bed of roses. In other words, it can be said the journey from Rairangpur to Raisina hills is a roller coaster ride. Born into a Santhal family in 1958, she faced many odds in her life.

Before her foray into politics, she worked as a teacher at Sri Aurobindo Integral Education Centre and junior assistant in the Irrigation and Power development of government of Odisha. Her political career took off in 1997 when she joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and elected as the councillor of the Rairangpur Nagar Panchayat.

Then there was no looking back for her. In the year 2000, she was elected from Rairangpur Assembly constitution and became minister in BJP-BJD coalition government. Then she was again elected from the same constituency. Later, she was appointed as the Governor of Jharkhand.

Dilip Tirkey

Born on November 25, 1977 in Sundargarh district, Dilip Tirkey is the current President of Hockey India. He was elected unopposed for the position in September, 2022.

He has made Odisha proud by becoming the first player in the world to have played 400 international matches. While he made his debut against England in 1995, he announced his retirement from international arena on May 2, 2010.

Sulochana Das

The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) got its first woman Mayor in the form of Sulochana Das in 2022. Das emerged victorious by defeating her rival Suniti Mund, fielded by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) by a margin of over 60,000 votes.

Started her career as a journalist, Das made her foray into politics by joining the Congress. Later, she switched over to the Biju Janata Dal (BJD). After working as the party’s spokesperson, she was appointed as the State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities in 2019.

Varsha Singh Bariha

Political green horn Varsha Singh Bariha hit the headlines when she emerged victorious in the Padampur by-election. Fielded by the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), she won the by-poll by defeating a seasoned politician like Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Pradeep Purohit.

Varsha is the daughter of late Padampur MLA Bijay Ranjan Singh Bariha whose demise necessitated the by-election held on December 5.

Ifu Mallick

Ifu Mallick of Bagramila village under Mediakia police limits in Kandhamal district was in news for working as a farm labourer to meet his medical study expenses. Despite the fact that his is poor family, Ifu successfully cleared the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) and that was without coaching.

He took admission in the MBBS course at Saheed Laxman Nayak Medical College and Hospital in Koraput. But the depravities kept coming in as hurdles. His family failed to meet the expenses of his study.

When the going gets tough the tough get going... With no option left, Ifu took sickle and worked as labourer at others’ farmlands. His aim is to be a good doctor; and, he is really working hard to fulfill his aim.

Dr Guruprasad Mohapatra

Last year, Dr Guruprasad Mohapatra was in news for India's fourth highest civilian honour Padma Shri being conferred upon him, but posthumously. He was awarded for his civil service.

Dr Mohapatra the then Secretary of Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), despite his own illness,  worked relentlessly to ensure smooth supply of Oxygen when Covid-19 was at its peak in the nation. He contracted the virus and finally lost his battle against the invisible virus.

Srimad Baba Balia

President Ram Nath Kovind presented Padma Shri award to Srimad Baba Balia for his outstanding social work. Baba is the founder of Sishu Ananta Ashram and Anant Balia Trust in Jagatsinghpur.

Shyamamani Devi

Noted Odissi vocalist Shyamamani Devi was in the news for receiving Padma Shri award for her contribution to the Odissi music world. The vocalist started singing when she was just 12 years old and when a girl taking up singing was looked down upon.

She started her singing career at All India Radio.

Narasingha Prasad Guru

Eminent litterateur of Koshali language was in news for receiving Padma Shri award for literature. Born in 1934, he is marked by his dedication to propagate Koshali language which is the mother tongue of 1.5 crore people of Western Odisha.

He has many awards under his belt. They include Odisha Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, Western Odisha Cultural Award and Bharat Chandra Nayak Award.

Prof Aditya Prasad Das

The current vice chancellor of Asian Institute of Public Health in Bhubaneswar, Prof Aditya Prasad Das was one among the five personalities who received Padma Shri award. Das was awarded for his outstanding contribution in the field of Science and Technology. For his work in the field of Malaria and other vector borne diseases, he has won many accolades and been felicitated on many occasions.

He received Life Time Achievement Award from International Association of Educators for World peace and INBUSH Award from Amity University for scientific contribution.

Pratibha Ray

Jnanpith award winner eminent writer Pratibha Ray was conferred with Padma Bhushan Award for her contribution to the field of literature and education. She has enriched the Odia literature world with some well-received short stories and novels. While her first novel ‘Barsha Basanta Baisakha’ was published in 1974, she went on giving one after another novels like ‘Aranya’, ‘Nishiddha Prithivi’, ‘Aparichita’, ‘Parichay’, 'Meghamedura' ‘Magnamati’, ‘Aadibhumi’, ‘Mahamoha’ and many more.

She has won many awards including Odisha Sahitya Akademi Award for her novel ‘Sheelapadma’, Sarala Award for her novel ‘Yajnaseni’, Moortidevi Award for ‘Yajnaseni’, Padma Shri award and Odisha Living Legend Award.

Abhilipsa Panda

Abhilipsa Panda, a resident of Keonjhar district, rose to fame overnight for her song ‘Har Har Sambhu’. The song went viral and garnered over 34 million views on YouTube in less than two months. She was even approached by Sony music and Zee.

Namita Meleka

Namita Meleka, a tribal girl from Chintaguda village in Koraput district, has got an opportunity to sing at the inaugural ceremony of Hockey World Cup at Barabati Stadium in Cuttack on January 11.

She was shot to fame when a video showing her singing a song from film ABCD 2 went viral. She also recorded a devotional song directed by noted music director Prem Anand.


Actor Babushan Mohanty starrer DAMaN is a film which is based on the true story of a young doctor working in Maoist-hit cut off area of Malkangiri district.

At a time when Odia film industry was passing through a difficult phase with people turning their faces away from Odia movies and theatre owners being reluctant to release Odia movies, DAMaN came as silver lining.

The film was released on November 4, 2022. The biographical social drama received tremendous response from cine goers. According to cine-lovers and critics, Odia film industry has seen such a film made on a storyline not copied from anywhere after a long gap.

The Odisha government also made it tax-free.