Sarvamangala, Bhargava from Mysuru, Kere Kaamegowda from Mandya among Rajyotsava awardees
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Sarvamangala, Bhargava from Mysuru, Kere Kaamegowda from Mandya among Rajyotsava awardees

CM H.D. Kumaraswamy to present awards at Vidhana Soudha this evening

Bengaluru: Former Chief Justice of India H.L. Dattu, Olympian Kenneth Powell, former Governor Margaret Alva and Kannada film actor Jai Jagadeesh are among the 63 persons selected for Kannada Rajyotsava Awards, the second highest civilian honour in Karnataka. Karnataka Ratna is the highest civilian honour.

Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy will present the awards at Vidhana Soudha at 5 pm today (Nov.29). The award carries Rs.1 lakh prize money, 20-gram gold medal and a citation. The Government announced the list yesterday after a delay of nearly a month.

Traditionally, Rajyotsava awards are conferred on Nov.1, the State Formation Day. This year, the selection and announcement of award winners were delayed because of Lok Sabha and Assembly by-polls in the first week of the month.

Dattu, from Chikkamagaluru, was the first Kannadiga CJI and now heads the National Human Rights Commission. He served as Kerala HC and Chhattisgarh High Court Chief Justice before becoming the CJI.

In the sports category, the Government picked ‘gentleman sprinter’ Kenneth Powell, more than 50 years after he competed in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics alongside ‘flying Sikh’ Milkha Singh in men’s 400m relay squad.

Powell is a 17-time national sprint champion. A feared fast bowler for Colonial Sports Club in Kolar Gold Fields, he later began training as an athlete after his coach advised him to concentrate on individual sports. His grandfather was a Welshman who worked in an ammunition factory in Nilgiris.

R. Chetan from Hassan, who won gold in badminton at the World Dwarf Games in 2009, has made it to the list in the sports category. Awardees also include JD(S) MP Shivanand Koujalagi, Working President of the Karnataka Lingayat Education Society. He was Public Works Minister in the H.D. Deve Gowda Cabinet in the State and later won the Bagalkot Lok Sabha seat.

“Will dedicate award money to plant more trees”

Kaamegowda is popular as Kere Kaamegowda. He is an 82-year-old shepherd from Daasanadoddi village in Malavalli taluk of Mandya district.  “I love tree planting more than any award. I will use the money that I get from the award to plant more trees,” he says.

Kaamegowda, who has not had any formal education, dedicated 40 years of his life to digging, creating and maintaining 14 ponds on a hillock in his village. Thanks to his efforts, the ponds remain full of water, even during the scorching heat. “Till I am alive, I can only think of the ponds,” he added.

November 29, 2018

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