Sullia: Kantamangala Appaji Rao (92), a progressive farmer and an enterprising merchant, passed away in a private hospital here on Nov 8, following brief illness.
Born in 1923, after completing education up to VIII standard, he joined the Indian Army of the British days. Having served between 1941 and 1946, he had taken part in World War II. He had attained special training in wireless operation. After retiring from military service, he had taken up agriculture on a vast land in Kantamangala across the Payaswini river.
He had run a provision store for decades. He had the credit of many firsts, the most remembered ones being introducing the autorickshaws in Sullia, opening a auto fuel filling station, a star hotel and a super bazar.
He was instrumental in setting up a school in Kantamangala. Over 50 years, he had the privilege of unfurling the tricolor on national days. Ten years ago he had been honoured by the state government with the Krishi Pandita award.
The most cherished moment of his life, he would recall, was having taken part in a programme when Mahatma Gandhi visited Sullia 82 years ago while he was a student of the Government Model Higher Primary School near Shastri Circle.
Always attired in spotless white, he was known for simplicity and noble character. He was popular with all communities and classes.
His final rites were held on Saturday. He is survived by a daughter and a son, Vishwanath Rao, former president of the Sullia Merchants’ Association and also managing director of Southern Residency star hotel.