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Industrialist K K Birla passes away
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August 30, 2008 10:09 IST

K K Birla, noted industrialist and former Rajya Sabha member, died on Saturday morning at his residence in Kolkata after a brief illness. He was 90.

The Chairman of Hindustan Times and several Birla group of industries is survived by three daughters Nandini Nupani, Shobhana Bhartia, who is vice chairperson and editorial adviser of Hindustan Times, and Jyoti Potddar.

Birla was ailing for the last two weeks and the end came at 7.30 am, family members said. His wife Manorama Devi Birla died about a month ago

Son of Ghanshyam Das Birla, Krishna Kumar Birla was born in Pilani, Rajasthan, on October 12, 1918.

He was amongst the founder members of the Indian sugar industry, which he joined in 1940. Birla had established one of India's biggest business conglomerates and his industrial empire spans key industries like sugar, fertilizers, chemicals, heavy engineering, textiles, shipping, newspaper etc.

He was a respected parliamentarian, socialite, philanthropist and scholar apart from being an industrialist.

Birla was a Rajya Sabha MP for 18 consecutive years. In 1961, he was elected Sheriff of Calcutta and in 1997, he was conferred Doctor of Letters by Pondicherry University. He has headed a number of Chambers of Commerce such as Indian Sugar Mills Association, Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Indian Chamber of Commerce.

He established the K K Birla Foundation that has instituted annual awards for excellence in Indian literature, scientific research and Indian philosophy.

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