New Delhi:16/3/19: Three personalities from Odisha— Daitari Naik, Kamala Pujari and Devarapalli Prakash Rao— were conferred with Padma Shri Award today.
President Ram Nath Kovind conferred the Padma Shri, country’s fourth-highest civilian award, to the three Odias at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi.
Social worker Daitari Naik, of Baitarani village under Banspal block of Keonjhar district, carved out a 3-km long canal from a mountain stream to water his and his neighbouring agricultural fields. Naik had single-handedly carved out the canal from the Gonasika mountains so that the water stream could irrigate the parched land below.
Agriculturist Kamala Pujari, who hails from the tribal-dominated Koraput district, received the honour for preserving hundreds of local varieties of paddy and promoting organic farming. She is also known for having persuaded villagers in her area to shun chemical fertilisers and adopt organic farming for a better harvest and soil fertility.
Social worker & Educationist D Prakash Rao, a small tea seller, was conferred with the honour for helping children from the slums in Cuttack to get an education. Rao also runs a school called ‘Asha o Aswasana’ for underprivileged children from many slums in Cuttack. Rao spends most of what he earns from his tea stall in Cuttack’s Buxi Bazar, towards the school.