Kochi: Eminent environmentalist and former Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad (KSSP) president Professor M K Prasad, 86, died on Monday.
He breathed his last at a private hospital here while undergoing treatment for COVID-19 related complications.
Prasad was a guiding force behind the national movement against the state government's move to set up a hydro-power project in Silent Valley in Palakkad district in the 1970s.
Bowing to unrelenting pressure from ecologists, the government was forced to abandon the project.
The struggle was called off in 1983 after Prime Minister Indira Gandhi assured that Silent Valley forests will be protected. The Silent Valley forests were declared as a national park by the Union Government on November 15, 1984.
An all-time source of energy for environmental activists, Prasad gave effective leadership to the progressive people's science movement called "Kerala Sasthra Sahithya Parishath" (KSSP).
Under the leadership of Prasad, KSSP effectively worked on the ground and aroused public opinion on the requirement to save Silent Valley.
Prasad, who held various academic positions in Kerala, including the post of Pro Vice Chancellor of Calicut University and Principal of Maharaja's College, Ernakulam, has also authored numerous books in Malayalam on environmental issues and popular science.
He also chaired the All India People's Science Network (AIPSN), an all-India consortium of people's science movements.
Prasad also served on the United Nations Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Board for five years.Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan condoled the demise of Prasad recalling his contributions as a leader of ecological movements.
Former Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh and Leader of Opposition the state Assembly V D Satheesan also condoled the demise of Prasad.
Prasad is survived by his wife and two children. His cremation was held at a crematorium in Ravipuram here.