Bhubaneswar, March 5 (IANS) Odisha Tuesday remembered its legendary leader and former chief minister Biju Patnaik on his 97th birth anniversary by organizing several programmes and paying him tribute by offering flowers at his statues.
While thousands of men and women participated in a mini-marathon here, leaders of different political parties, including his son and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, paid tribute by offering flowers at his statue.
Addressing a gathering at the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) office here, the chief minister said it was his father who initiated steps to empower women and different Panchayati Raj institutions.
He said his government has been making efforts to fulfill the dreams of Biju Patnaik.
The state health department meanwhile announced the launching of a 24x7 emergency ambulance services across the state to mark the occasion.
Anybody needing emergency help could avail the service by dialling 108 and an ambulance would reach his doorstep, a state health official said.
The state government has engaged as many as 280 ambulance vehicles and one each would be deployed per one lakh population, the official said, adding that initially the service would be available in 15 districts.
The state government and the ruling BJD also organized functions including meetings and rallies across the state to pay tribute to the late leader.
Born in the state's Cuttack city March 5, 1916 in a family of freedom fighters, Biju Patnaik has been often described as the maker of modern Odisha.
He died April 7, 1997 at New Delhi after prolonged illness. Patnaik, who remained a major political figure in the country during his times, has also been credited for several industrial successes in the state.