K'taka's top civilian award for Ex-Prez Kalam

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Bangalore, Sep 28 (UNI) Karnataka Government has conferred '2006-Basava Puraskar' on former Indian President A P J Abdul Kalam, instituted in the name of 12th century social reformer Basaveshwar here today.

Speaking after presenting the State's Top Civilian Award, which consists of a plaque, Rs 10 lakh in cash and a memento, instituted by the Department of Kannada and Culture, the Karnataka Chief Minister Kumaraswamy said the honour was presented to Dr Kalam ''in recognition of his services to the entire mankind.'' ''I deem it an honour to confer this coveted award on behalf of the state to a yogi, who provided us with an insight to look into the future and who equipped us with his noble thoughts and noblest ideas'' Mr Kumaraswamy said.

Stating that he had taken a leaf out of Dr Kalam's character and tried to strive hard for the welfare of the poor, he said during the last 20 months the state government had sanctioned over 716 new primary schools, 1000 high schools, 500 pre-university colleges and 182 degree colleges besides opening up six medical colleges and seven medical colleges. ''This is obviously an all-time record in the field of education in the state'' he claimed.

Speaking after receiving the award Dr Kalam said he was overwhelmed by the gesture of Karnataka Government honouring him with the award in the name of Basavanna, a great philosopher and social reformer. ''I would cherish it ever'' Dr Kalam said.

Home Minister M P Prakash, Kannada and Culture Minister Mahadev Prasad were also present.

UNI

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