MP Veerendra Kumar passes away
Kozhikode: Mathrubhumi Managing Director M. P. Veerendra Kumar MP passed away on Thursday night at a private hospital in Kozhikode. He was 84. He was admitted to the hospital on Thursday and suffered a cardiac arrest.
His body was taken to his residence in Chalappuram and on Friday will be taken to his home town in Wayanad. The final rites will be held on Friday evening in Wayanad.
Presently a Rajya Sabha member, he was a union minister and also a state minister. The last rites will be held on Friday in Wayanad.
He has occupied several top posts and was Member, Executive Committee, The Indian Newspaper Society, Vice Chairman, The Press Trust of India Ltd, Trustee, Press Institute of India - Research Institute for Newspaper Development, President, Socialist Janata (Democratic), Kerala State Committee (Since 2010), Chairman, The Press Trust of India Ltd. (1992-'93 & 2003-'04) , President, The Indian Newspaper Society (2003-2004), Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha (2004-2009) and Chairman, INS Kerala Regional Committee.
Veerendra Kumar has bagged several awards and honours namely the Kerala Sahitya Akademi’s Fellowship instituted by Kerala Sahitya Akademi, Kendra Sahitya Akademi Award, Malliyoor Ganesha Puraskaram, C H Mohamed Koya Memorial Award, Odakkuzhal award and Rajiv Gandhi National Award.
He is survived by wife Usha, children Asha, Nisha, Jayalakshmi and M. V. Shreyams Kumar (Joint Managing Director of Mathrubhumi).
Veerendra Kumar was born to Marudevi Avva and Padmaprabha Gowder, a leader of Socialist Party and former MLA, on 22 July 1936 in Kalpetta in Wayanad district.
After schooling in Kalpetta and at Kozhikode, he did his master's in philosophy from Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda College, Madras.
An active politician, he was the treasurer and national committee member of the former Samyukta Socialist Party, state secretary of the Kerala Unit of the Socialist Party, one of the all India secretaries of the former Socialist Party, convener of the Opposition Co-ordination Committee in Kerala, vice president of the former Janata Party, and its president.
He was an active leader in several peoples’ issues and led the historic Noolpuzha agitation against eviction of farmers in Wayanad in 1950s, and secured squatting rights. He has organized peoples march to Bangalore Coffee Board HQ against the exploitative stand of Coffee Board
He led agitations against big dams in Wayanad district namely Karapuzha and Banasura Sagar projects.
He was arrested during the emergency. During 1987–91 he was elected member of the Kerala Legislative Assembly. Later 1996 he was elected to the Lok Sabha, lower house of the Parliament of India from Kozhikode constituency and functioned as Minister of state for Labour and later Finance.
He had attended a sitting of the fourth Joint Parliamentary Committee constituted by the 13th Lok Sabha on 'Pesticide residue in soft drinks,' to submit documentary evidence, in the context of Plachimada.
He was also the inspiring force in organizing the World Water Conference 2004 at Plachimada, against the multinational agenda on exploitation of water resources. The conference was attended by over 40 international water warriors, 500 delegates and nearly 10,000 people.
He has been a staunch champion of freedom of the press and organised nationwide. He was the prime mover behind the historic Mumbai Declaration of press rights.