26 January 2019
Bhubaneswar: The State stands tall and proud as three personalities from the State will be conferred with the prestigious Padma Shri award this year.
They are Kamala Pujari (Agriculture), Devarapalli Prakash Rao (Social Work-Affordable Education) and Daitari Naik (Social Work).
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik tweeted, “Heartfelt congratulations to #Odisha’s illustrious achievers Shri Daitari Naik, Ms Kamala Pujhari and Shri Devarapalli Prakash Rao, for being amongst Padma award winners; wish them the very best for their continued work and greater success.”
Prakash Rao of Cuttack is known for tirelessly running a tea stall and simultaneously working for the development of slum children through a primary school called ‘Asha o Aswasana’.
Daitari Naik of Keonjhar was responsible for single-handedly carving out a 3-km-long canal with hoe and crowbar to bring a mountain stream to water his agricultural fields.
Kamala Pujari, a tribal woman of Patraput village in Koraput is all set to get Padma Shri for her contribution in the field of agriculture. Her passionate initiatives to preserve traditional rice varieties in the tribal heartland was first recognised by the Swaminathan Commission.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s sister and eminent writer Gita Mehta was also selected to receive a Padma Shri award but she refused to accept the award citing, “general election looming and the timing of the award might be misconstrued, causing embarrassment both to the Government and myself.”
The awards are announced on the occasion of Republic Day every year and conferred by the President of India at ceremonial functions which are held at Rashtrapati Bhawan usually around March/April every year.
The list, released by the Home Ministry, includes 4 Padma Vibhushan, 14 Padma Bhushan and 94 Padma Shri Awards. While 21 of the awardees are women, 11 persons are from the category of foreigners, NRI (non-resident Indian), PIO (person of Indian origin), OCI (overseas citizenship of India), three posthumous awardees and one transgender person.
Also Read: Gita Mehta Refuses To Accept Padma Shri