Mumbai's Chanda Asani to get Neerja Bhanot Award

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Chandigarh, Sep 16 (UNI) The Neerja Bhanot award this year would be conferred on Mumbai-based social activist Chanda Asani for showing tremendous courage and commitment towards women empowerment, surmounting personal setbacks, including a broken marriage.

Asani is associated with SNDT Women's University Rural Development Centre in Mumbai and Kalyani, a rural women's co-operative in Kulak village near Udwada in Gujarat.

Through Kalyani, Chanda Asani co-ordinates with workers at the grassroot level, arrange non-formal education and training programmes and explores employment opportunities under a sustainable livelihood programme.

When she was conveyed the news today of her being chosen for the award, her first thought was for 'Kalyani' only. ''The roof of the Centre is in a bad shape but I was unable to manage funds. Now, we can get the work doen soon,'' she said.

The award, which will be conferred on Ms Asani on October five here, comprises Rs 1,50,000, a citation and a trophy.

Founded in memory of Neerja Bhanot, a Pan Am air hostess, who lost her life while saving passengers during the 1986 Karachi hijack, the award was decided by three-member jury comprising Chandigarh Tourism Director Vivek Atray, noted journalist Vijaya Pushkarna and eminent educationist R K Thaman.

Neerja, who hailed from Chandigarh, has been the youngest recipient of the Ashoka Chakra, India's highest civilian award for bravery.

UNI PS JN GL VC1759

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