Three women from Aadhanur in Perambalur district, who rescued two youth from drowning in the Kottakarai dam, by throwing their sarees to them, were awarded the Kalpana Chawla award for courage and daring enterprise by Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami during the 74th Independence Day celebrations at Fort St. George on Saturday.
R. Senthamilchelvi, 38, S. Muthammal, 34 and A. Anandavalli, 34, were given a citation and ₹5 lakh each for rescuing Karthick and Senthilvelan of Siruvachur, from a pool of water in the Kottakarai dam that is under construction. On August 6, upon realising that four youth were about to drown, the women, who were washing their clothes, quickly removed their sarees and threw them into the water. Though they lifted two of the youth, they could not save the other two.
“If we had extended our hands, we too would have been drawn into the water. We did not have any other object except our sarees. So, without wasting time, we just used our sarees as a ‘rope’ to save them. But, what haunts us is that despite our best efforts, we could not save the other two,” Ms. Anandavalli, one of the recipients of the prestigious award, said.
S. Selvakumar, founder of Anandham Youth Foundation was presented the Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Award. The Foundation identifies economically backward rural students, who are unable to pursue higher education after their Plus-Two, and takes care of their complete education expenses, including college fees, hostel, food, transport and training with 100% scholarship.
“Based on data we received on drop-out rate after school education, we found that many do not even have money to buy college applications. Education provides the opportunity for everyone to succeed in life,” he said, explaining his Foundation’s efforts over the past 23 years.
The Chief Minister also presented awards for exemplary service for the welfare of the differently abled to CSI Higher Secondary School for the Deaf, Dr. G. Syamala of Salem district, Sakthi Masala Pvt Ltd, social worker C. Santha Kumar and Salem Central Cooperative Bank Ltd.
He gave away awards for service towards welfare of women to social worker G.P. Godhanavalli of Coimbatore district and Dr. V. Nadanasabapathy, Centre for Rural Education and Economic Development (CREED), Cuddalore district.
S. Arunkumar of Madurai, R. Ramkumar from Cuddalore and S. Ambedkar of Chennai were presented the Chief Minister’s State Youth Award for Men, while S. Bhuvaneswari of Cuddalore was presented the State Youth Award for Women.
The Chief Minister recognised the work of COVID-19 frontline workers from various government departments. As a symbolic gesture, 27 frontline staff from departments of health and family welfare, police, revenue and disaster management, cooperation, food and consumer protection and urban local bodies were presented a gold plated medal and a certificate of appreciation. Among them were three sanitation workers from Greater Chennai Corporation, Tiruvallur district and Erode Corporation.
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