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Winners of 20th Godfrey Phillips Bravery Awards from West Bengal, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka

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KOLKATA: Godfrey Phillips Bravery, a corporate social responsibility initiative of Godfrey Phillips India, honored twelve brave people from West Bengal, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka with Godfrey Phillips Zonal Bravery Awards 2011. The Awards were presented by the Special Guest, Ms. Debasree Roy, Actress & Founder, Debasree Roy Foundation, Kolkata, West Bengal.

Mr. Harmanjit Singh, General Secretary, Godfrey Phillips Bravery Awards, Godfrey Phillips India, said “The Godfrey Phillips Bravery Awards were instituted in 1990, to honor exceptional bravery exhibited by a common person.

Twenty years on, the movement continues to inspire people of all ages, beliefs and origins, and celebrate the spirit of bravery. To commemorate 20 years we are increasing our footprint to cover 20 states. Four states that are being added are Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.”

Here are the details of winners:

Category :  Physical Bravery
Narayan Rao and Buburu Sahadeb Behera

They made our country proud. They risked their lives and saved four Japanese tourists from certain death.

Shri Narayan Rao and Shri Buburu Sahadeb Behera, fishermen, were at Puri Beach readying themselves for a haul, when they saw four men being drawn in by the rough sea while bathing near Chakratirtha.

Without a thought, they jumped into the rough sea, fought the strong waves and dragged the drowning men out.

That was not the end of their days work. Violent sea was ready to swallow three more lives that day. Three engineering students from Kalyani Government College of West Bengal owe their lives to the fishermen duo.

Category :  Physical Bravery
Tamil Selvan

26-year old Shri Tamil Selvan’s valiant effort saved seven persons from a burning inferno in Banglore.

On 23rd February 2010, a building had a fire on one of the top floors. While flames started to spread and billowing smoke caught the attention of the crowd, most   stood watching helplessly, confused and scared. Displaying exemplary courage and risking his life, Selvan went inside the building through the smoke laden corridors and reached building’s 7th floor. There with the help of firemen and few others he worked to rescue trapped helpless people.

While struggling with the rescue, Selvan heard that there were huge barrels of diesel stored for generator sets at the roof top. Showing presence of mind, he ran up to the roof top and switched off the generator and averted a catastrophe waiting to happen.

Category :  Physical Bravery
 Gita Nag

40-year old Mrs Gita Nag is courage personified. That day she heard some commotion in the neighborhood. She knew that all was not well and decided to have a look.

She came out of her house and entered her neighbor’s house from where sounds were emanating. That is when she witnessed a robbery in progress.

There were two men, one had a knife pointed at Mrs Manju Anchaliya, Gita’s neighbor, and another was collecting valuables from the house.

Gita realized that she had to do something. Without worrying for her own personal safety, she pounced on the man with the knife. She pushed him and shouted for help.

The dacoits were taken aback. They panicked and tried to run, but brave Gita caught one and did not allow him to escape till assistance came.

Category :  Physical Bravery
Vepagunta Samraj

Social worker, Shri Vepagunta Samraj single minded objective is to help the needy even at the risk of his life. On 23rd August 2009 he was at platform in Kanumalapalli waiting to board a train

He saw a 40-year old lady being dragged with her legs between footboard and the platform. She was holding railings of the bogey and shouting for help. No one seemed to respond to her cries of help. Without caring for his personal safety, Shri Samraj jumped and pulled the lady away from the train.

Earlier also, on 14th January 2007 he saw an old woman crossing the main line, while 1042 Express approached at a fast speed. He jumped in the nick of time and pulled her to safety too.

In 2003-2004 he saved the life of a passenger, who had accidently fallen from a running train. He was honoured by the then Governor of Andhra Pradesh for his brave act.

Category :  Social Bravery
Dr Achyuta Samanta

A Dr Achyuta Samanta’ untiring effort in the field of education is of great significance to the nation. He is help raising responsible, able and better citizens.

He has established Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS), a unique initiative where Scheduled Tribe students not only receive free education, but are provided free books and notebooks as well. KISS also provides free meals to its students and financial assistance to their parents.

Dr Achyuta Samanta’s Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences, Bhubaneswar, is the largest residential institute for the tribal in the world. It provides accommodation, food, healthcare and education from Kindergarten to Post Graduation– all basic amenities of life absolutely free of cost. The inmates are also assured of a job after completion of education and vocational training.

In recognition of his selfless services for the welfare and education of the tribal and indigenous people, Shri Achyuta Samanta of Odisha is awarded the Social Bravery Award.

Category :  Social Bravery
NGO Samata

Samata an, NGO is relentlessly crusading to safeguard the rights of hundreds of tribal in about 350 villages spread across Andhra Pradesh’s East Godavari and Visakhapatnam districts.

Founder members, Ravi & Bhanu, a young couple, have taken on the powerful mining lobby and moved the Supreme Court to stop non-tribal from mining in tribal areas. The ruling, now known as the famous Samata Judgement, is used all over the country to fight against the encroachment of tribal lands by mining companies.

It organizes tribal people to resist exploitation and raises awareness and advocacy of their fundamental rights. On economic front, Samata supports sustainable development to help the tribal and rural youth to find employment within their local regions. It has helped to set up a micro-hydel project in deep interior tribal area, which lights up the entire village for about four hours a day.

Samata also runs regular health camps and trains local women on basic health and hygiene issues. It has started several schools and improved drinking water facilities in the area by laying out a network of bamboo pipes, which connect the villages to natural spring either deeper in jungle or higher up in mountains.

In recognition of its dedicated service to the welfare of the tribal and transforming their lives, Samanta of Andhra Pradesh is awarded the Social Bravery Award.

Category :  Social Bravery
Rangu Souriya

Ms Rangu Souriya has a single minded mission, to protect women and children from exploitation. Starting from a mere concern, today she has an NGO, Kanchanjunga Uddhar Kendra dedicated to help women and children who have been trafficked as bonded labour.

Born to poor parents, she has witnessed exploitation of women and children in tea gardens. Watching young children and women do hard labour for minimum wages, she decided to do her bit to protect them. Poverty did not stop her from her resolve. She took a loan from a bank and invested in dairy farming to make money. As soon as she had saved enough money, around 2004 she plunged into social work.

Today the organisation concentrates on rehabilitation of trafficked women who have been sold for hard labour, rehabilitating women who have been displaced due to the work in various parts of the country. To date, she has rescued over 80 girls from different Indian cities like Mumbai, Chandigarh, Jullundhur, Pune. Her efforts have also prevented sale of over 200 girls to a gulf country.

She is also in the process of opening an Ashram for these women in Devigada Mohalla of Siliguri. She also works to send children to school as it is their fundamental right.

In recognition of her relentless struggle to save women and children from exploitation, Ms Rangu Souriya of West Bengal is awarded the Special Award.

Category :  Social Bravery
 Padma Srinivasan

73-year old Padma Srinivasan has dedicated herself to the service of neglected elderly citizens in the society.

Padma Srinivasan retired as finance manager in an Industrial Training Institute. With 10 lakhs savings, she decided to invest the money in purchase of land in Vijaynagar, about 30 kms from Bangalore. Once she bought the land, she hit upon a novel idea for her retirement plans. The grand plan was to raise money for building home for the elderly.

To help raise the money, she and her other retired friends decided to get together and sell pizzas. They first started making and selling pizzas from a garage. The enterprise was successful and today they supply pizzas to many a MNCs and top executives in Bangalore.

But they did not bask in the success. The profit from pizzas and generous donations from some well-wishers were used to make a home for the elderly. Established in June 2008, Vishranthi is not just an old age home. It is a multi-specialty home for elderly people, where all facilities, including healthcare and recreational activities are available.

They also plan to start an orphanage and vocational training centre for poor rural women at Vishranthi.

Today Vishranthi has 10 inmates but Mrs Padma Srinivasan has the doors open to anyone asking for help.

Category :  Social Bravery
 Late Shri Kanailal Datta

Late Shri Kanailal Datta’s life was a life well spent.

He dedicated his to provide education and vocational training to differently abled children.

Pained by the plight of refugees following huge influx from East Bengal way back in 1950, he decided to help. He set up a refugee colony in New Barrackpore, a suburb of Kolkata.

He founded Naba Barrackpore Shiksha Samaj (New Barrackpore Educational Society) in 1962. Seven basic schools and two colleges were set up. These were later converted by state government into Primary and Secondary Schools.

In January 1997, Shri Datta set up Haripada Biswas Vidyalay (HBPV), the first school for intellectually and physically challenged children in New Barrackpore. Classes were conducted in a room of the local Primary School until HBPV got its own building in 1998. He managed the school with personal resources. The school finally obtained academic affiliation in 2003.

He went to Kolkata-based Indian Institute of Cerebral Palsy to learn how to teach children with special needs.

What started with three children has today grown to 77 students. About 15 of these are speech and hearing impaired, while others are intellectually and physically challenged. There are 18 teachers in the school. Today, the school provides vocational training in book binding, incense-stick making, tailoring and needle work. Classes for music and painting are also being held.

Shri Kanailal Datta died in 2010 but he has left a legacy behind. His children do not feel orphaned. He has provided them a life of dignity and self-respect.

Category :  Mind of Steel
Amarendra Behera

It is the steely resolve of Shri Amarendra Behera that has helped him to the top position.

He has 26 medals to his credit, 13 gold, 10 silver and three bronze medals. He is the No. 1 badminton player in both singles and doubles events at the national level and the reigning doubles champion for the last six years. His ranking at the international level is seventh. He has won singles and doubles titles twice each, besides being the runners-up at international level. He was appointed the captain of Indian Badminton team on the Israel tour.

What makes Shri Behera special and a force to reckon with is that he is physically challenged. His right leg is thinner and shorter as compared to his left leg by six inches. But that did not stop him from achieving success. A graduate, he has been representing India in various Badminton competitions for the disabled since 2002.

Category :  Amodini Award
Smt. B. ChitammaKali

Amma Nari Shakti Sangh founder, Smt. B. Chitamma’s untiring efforts have brought about a transformation in the lives of the fishing women of Koturu village in Odisha.

A native of Andhra Pradesh, Smt. Chitamma came to Koturu as a young bride after marriage. She was shocked to see that there was no potable water, no school, no hospital, and people constantly borrowed money for medical expenses, marriages, festivals, even to buy food.

She realized that she could not ignore the plight of the villagers. She resolved to change their lives.

She started with the village women and organized them into a federation of self-help groups. She helped create 15 groups comprising of around 20 women, saving Rs 30 every month.

In 1995 Smt. Chitamma took another major step and a federation of sanghs in the name of Samudram was born. The organization took upon itself the responsibility to look after marine fisherwomen and their families along the coast of Odisha.

Today the federation has 3,080 members and works in 21 coastal blocks in Ganjam, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapada, Bhadrak and Balasore districts of Orissa.

Its five fresh and dry fish procurement centres are run by trained fisherwomen, churning out products like fish and prawn achar (pickle), fish papad, fish balls, fish pakoda, fish cutlets, fish cakes, and fish paneer.

Today the women of these villages are empowered and financially independent. The earning of the women has percolated down to the betterment of the community also.

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