Veteran photojournalist Ashok Panda died in a road accident on Friday when he was on his way to cover Lord Jagannath’s annual Ratha Jatra in Puri, police said. Panda was 57. He is survived by his wife and 10-year-old daughter.
The accident took place near Satasankha on Bhubaneswar-Puri road at about 5 AM. It is suspected that Panda’s motor cyclone hit a roadside culvert, police said. Though he was wearing a helmet, blood had oozed from his nostril, the police said.
Panda was rushed to Sakhigopal hospital immediately afterward. He was shifted from there to Capital Hospital in Bhubaneswar, where doctors declared him dead, inspector in charge of Capital police station Girija Shankar Chakrabarty said. Commissioner of Police, S K Priyadarshi monitored the post-mortem of the dead scribe.
Panda was the chief staff photographer of an Odia daily and also contributed photographs to several other publications and websites. A native of Baisingha in Mayurbhanj, Panda started his career as a photojournalist with Eastern Press Agency in 1984 after completing a diploma in photography and videography. He later joined 'Samaya', an Odia daily in 1996 and also contributed to The Asian Age, The Times of India, and several other publications.
Panda also won a photography contest organized by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry in 2000 and the best photojournalist award at the Odisha Media Conclave in 2018. Odisha Governor Ganeshi Lal, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, and Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan expressed grief over the death of Panda.
Journalists, bureaucrats, police officers, and people from different walks of life paid their homage to Panda at the Capital Hospital. His last rites were held at Satyanagar crematorium here.