Guwahati: The Assam government will bestow civilian awards on an array of personalities from diverse fields, including industrialist and philanthropist Ratan Tata and Olympian Lovlina Borgohain, in the first year of these recognitions, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Saturday.

While Tata’s name had already been announced for the state’s highest civilian award Assam Baibhav’ on Thursday, Sarma declared the awardees for Assam Saurav’ and Assam Gaurav’ at a press conference here.

Through the awards, we want to recognise the contributions of these people to society through their work, he said.

The CM said the awards will be conferred on Asom Divas, celebrated on December 2 to commemorate the rule of Swargadeo Chaolung Sukapha, who founded the Ahom dynasty in Assam, which ruled the state for 600 years.

This time, the awards will be given on January 24, 2022, he said.

Ratan Tata was named as the recipient of the Assam Baibhav’ award for his contribution towards cancer care facilities in the state.

Among the five persons to be honoured with Assam Saurav’ is Olympian medallist Lovlina Borgohain, artist Neel Pawan Baruah and National Health Mission state director Lakhsmanan S.

Prof Kamalendu Deb Krori and Dr Dipak Chand Jain will also be awarded Assam Saurav’ for their contributions in the field of education and business management, respectively.

The recipients of Assam Gaurav’ include Munindra Nath Ngatey, who has been in charge of the COVID-19 vaccination drive in the state, Dr Basanta Hazarika, among those at the forefront in the fight against the virus since the start of the pandemic, ANM nurse Namita Kalita and ASHA worker Bornita Momin.

Kalita has so far administered nearly one lakh Covid vaccines, the highest number of jabs given by an individual during the pandemic, while Momin had successfully vaccinated Phuloguri Garo Gaon in Sonitpur district by creating awareness and overcoming superstitious beliefs of villagers.

The chief minister said the Assam Baibhav’ award carries a cash component of Rs 5 lakh, the Assam Saurav’ Rs 4 lakh and Assam Gaurav’ Rs 3 lakh.

Moreover, the government will bear the cost of treatment up to Rs 2 lakh annually of all the awardees in case of hospitalisation. They will receive free accommodation at Assam Bhawans and will be invited guests at government functions, he added.

The Assam Saurav’ will have three recipients and Assam Gaurav’ – 15.

This year, there have been some changes and we are honouring five persons with Assam Saurav’ and hence, the number of awardees in the Assam Gaurav’ category has come down to 13, he said.

Sarma said from next year, the awards would be decided on people’s recommendations, and a public portal will be soon launched for this purpose.

Two committees will then scrutinise the names and finalise the list.

This year, the awards have been research-based, Sarma said.

Also read: Ratan Tata to be conferred Assam’s highest civilian award

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