Dillip Satapathy, resident editor of Business Standard’s Bhubaneswar bureau, died early Monday morning after a two-decade battle with cancer a few months short of his 56th birthday. Dillip joined Business Standard in August 1993 in the Bhubaneswar bureau and trained for a while in the paper’s Kolkata bureau, where he quickly demonstrated an innate understanding of reporting and an instinct for analysis beyond the news of the day.
No less importantly, Dillip’s sunny personality made him a popular member of the Kolkata staff in the few months he worked there. In Bhubaneshwar, he rapidly built a formidable range of contacts and a thorough knowledge of the key economic issues that stemmed from the state’s early attempts at attracting investment in power, roads and iron ore.
But Dillip never let his micro-focus on the state obscure his understanding of the macro issues. Unfailingly generous with his contacts and his knowledge, he became the go-to source for many journalists outside the state looking to understand the intricacies of iron ore mining, power purchase agreements and similar complex subjects.
Dillip was a rare journalist who saw events up close, some of them not always savoury but none of this ever marred his equanimity or made him a cynic. His illness, bone marrow cancer, was detected in late 1998 and Dillip fought a gallant battle against it, absorbing uncomplainingly the physical and personal price he paid for this serious illness.
Bar the periods of intensive treatment, he tried hard not to let his illness hamper his work. He finally lost the battle when the cancer recurred a few months ago. A tall man, the disease and its treatment ended up knocking a couple of inches of Dillip’s height. But to those who had the privilege of knowing him, the gentlemanly Dillip will stand tall in collective memory.