Rayagada: Noted social worker and Padma Shri recipient Shanti Devi breathed her last late Sunday night at her residence in Gunupur town of Rayagada district. She was 88.
A family source said that Shanti Devi complained of severe chest pain and fell unconscious earlier at the night. Immediately, the family members contacted a doctor of a local health facility. On reaching her residence, the doctor declared her ‘dead’.
It is pertinent to mention here that Shanti Devi had received the coveted Padma Shri award from the Honourable President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, November 9 last year.
Born in Balasore district in 1934, she was renowned for her philanthropic works. Shanti Devi has tremendous contribution towards bringing back peace and harmony in the Maoist-infested districts of Odisha. She also headed a voluntary organisation named ‘Seva Samaj’.
She got married to a Gandhian Ratan Das at the age of 17 and shifted to Koraput. Initially, Shanti Devi started her social work by founding an ashram at Gobarapalli locality in Rayagada. She worked for the development and education of tribal girls.
Subsequently, she shifted to Gunupur and founded the ashram in 1964 to provide education to tribal girls. Shanti Devi had set up another ashram for leprosy patients at Jabarguda under Padmapur block in Rayagada district.
For the most part of her life, Shanti Devi worked for all round development of tribal girl children, including education, rehabilitation and vocational training of the orphans and destitute children in the society.
Shanti Devi was also associated with the Bhoodan Movement.