Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar/ Cuttack: President of India, Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday dedicated Anand Bhawan, the ancestral house of former Chief Minister Biju Patnaik, to the people of the country as a museum-cum-centre of learning.

Kovind, who arrived in Odisha on a two-day tour, inaugurated the museum in presence of Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and other eminent dignitaries at a special function held in Cuttack.

President Kovind struck a chord with people of Odisha by addressing the gathering at Indoor Stadium in Odia. He began his address by saying, "Mu Odisha ra pabitra mati aau ehara janata ku pranam janauchi.”

Remembering late Biju Patnaik, Kovind said he was one among other prominent leaders in the country who had a vision for development and always advocated women empowerment.

“It’s an honour to pay tributes to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and Biju Patnaik in Cuttack as both had played crucial roles in freedom struggle,” said Kovind.

The President arrived at Biju Patnaik International Airport at around 10:45 am and was received by Governor SC Jamir, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and other political leaders and senior officials.

Biju Patnaik’s ancestral house has now been converted into museum having five galleries. Each showcases a different aspect of the legendary leader’s life including his early childhood, personal and political life.

Biju Patnaik was born on March 5, 1916, at Anand Bhavan built by his father Laxmi Narayan Patnaik. It was here at Anand Bhawan where Biju Patnaik had spent most of his childhood while his son and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik was also born here.

Naveen and his brother Prem Patnaik had donated the property, including half an acre plot and the 5,000 sqft building of Anand Bhawan to the government in January 2015.

Speaking on the occasion Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said, “Biju Patnaik always fought for pride of Odisha. He had earned the reputation of a great statesman, patriot, visionary and above all a great humanist.”

Patnaik further said, “Biju Patnaik is an idea in continuity, an idea of realizing the breadth of human aspirations and Odia self esteem, self service and empowerment.”