Former Union Environment Minister and MLA from Gujarat's Wankaner Digvijaysinh Zala passed away at the age of 88.
The head of the erstwhile princely state of Wankaner in Saurashtra expired following a brief period of illness.
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.