Berhampur (Odisha), Jun 2 (PTI) Senior advocate and former president of the prestigious Utkal Sammilani, Basant Kumar Panigrahy died at a nursing home in Cuttack, his family sources said.

He was 87.

Panigrahy died last night is survived by wife, a son and a daughter.

Panigrahy was also a former chairman of Berhampur Municipality.

As president of Utkal Sammilani, which had played pivotal role for formation of separate Odisha on the basis of language in 1936, Panigrahy he had worked to preserve Odia culture among the Odias resided in the neighboring states.

He was the first to demand that sign boards in the state be writtem in Odia under the Orissa Shops and Commercial establishment (OSCE) Act and launched a movement for its implementation.

It was on his suggestion that the state government set up welfare funds for advocates, said senior Congress leader and former Odisha speaker Chintamani Dyansamanara in his condolence.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.