Former Union Environment Minister and MLA from Gujarat’s Wankaner Digvijaysinh Zala passed away following a brief period of illness today, He was 88. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed grief over his demise.
In a tweet, the Prime Minister said, “Anguished by the demise of former Union Minister, Shri Digvijaysinh Zala Ji. He played an active role in Gujarat and national politics. He will be remembered for his community service and passion for the environment. Condolences to his family. Om Shanti.”
Zala was an MLA from Wankaner for the years 1962-67 as an independent candidate and as a member of the Swatantra Party from 1967-71.
He, then, joined the Congress and became a Member of Parliament from Surendranagar for two terms from 1979 to 1989.
Establishing the Environment ministry under Prime minister Indira Gandhi, he became the first Environment Minister of the country from 1982 to 1984.
He also represented India in the United Nations on more than one occasion, speaking on environmental issues facing the world.
Credited with declaring many national parks in India to conserve wildlife and nature, he made some of the major reforms such as coordinating with the Indian Railways to replace the wooden sleepers under railway tracks with cement ones to help save India’s trees.