Namma Bengaluru Foundation hosted its flagship initiative – ‘the 9th Namma Bengaluru Awards’ (NBA) in Bengaluru today. The awards, which aims to honour the ‘real heroes’ of Bengaluru, recognized 6 extraordinary Bengalureans for their unparalleled contribution towards making the city better.
Since 2009, the jury members which comprises of leading Bengalureans from all walks of life, select awardees in fair and transparent manner. The winner’s names are kept confidential and is revealed only on the day of the event. In the past, IAS, IPS, IFS and officials in all levels of administration have been honoured in Government Official of the Year category and many of these officials have requested that the prize money to be given to a charity of their choice and Namma Bengaluru Foundation has accepted their request and worked out the formalities.
The theme of this year’s awards was Reclaiming Bengaluru and the focus was on individuals who have in their capacity contributed largely to the overall betterment of Bengaluru.
Presided by Justice (Retd) Swatanter Kumar as the Chief guest and Shri. Ganesh, Actor and Director as Guest of Honour, the evening saw the winners of the Ninth edition awarded in the following categories:
- Mr. Sanjeev Dyamannavar for Citizen of the Year
- Mr. Rasheed Kappan for Media Person of the Year
- Mrs. Dipika Bajpai for Government Official of the Year
- Mr. Prashant S B for Social Entrepreneur of the Year
- Ms. Vidhya Y for Rising Star of the Year
Mrs. Rukmini Krishnaswamy was honoured with the coveted “Namma Bengalurean of the Year” award.
In addition, Namma Bengaluru Foundation felicitated four citizen groups with the honour of Champions of Namma Bengaluru 2018 for relentlessly working towards Reclaiming Bengaluru. They are:
- Friends of Lakes: Started with cleaning the Vidyaranyapura lake and the success was emulated in other lakes too and within a span of few years, Friends of Lakes spread to 22 lakes within Bengaluru Urban City limit area. The model adopted by FOL has received world-wide appreciation and the group is now expanding to other states in India and the world.
- Project Vruksha Foundation: Project Vruksha Foundation is an eco-initiative that quantifies the biodiversity through a scientific tree census. Considered as pioneers of tree mapping in India, the group started mapping trees of Bengaluru for better accountability and are also a member of the First Tree Committee of Karnataka.
- Save Pattandur Agrahara Lake: When a group of active citizens noticed violations of lake and lake buffer zone in Pattandur Agrahara Lake, they came together and launched a visible public protest, and thereafter, have run a sustained campaign using citizen engagement, social media, press outreach and public pressure on officials.
- Save Kaggadasapura Lake: A group of citizens, who decided to become lake activists, after observing the pathetic state of their neighborhood waterbody. They started organizing lake cleanup drives every Sunday morning to bring about awareness amongst the authorities and the local population about the urgent need to rejuvenate the lake.
Since its inception in 2009, the awards have operated in a transparent framework that encourages citizens to nominate extraordinary contributions by fellow Bengalureans. Thousands of nominations were received out of which 41 nominees were shortlisted across 5 categories.
Talking about the awards, Mr. Sridhar Pabbisetty, CEO of Namma Bengaluru Foundation said: “On behalf of NBF and jury, we congratulate the winners. However, we have been informed about an unprecedented announcement that the government officials have been instructed to not attend this programme. The circular for the same has been circular for the same has been circulated yesterday that mentions government official to not receive any award without prior approval. In nine years, this has happened for the first time and it is very unfortunate to stop citizens recognizing the contribution made by upright and honest officers who fall in the aforesaid category is a deserving to receive this award. We are hoping she gets necessary permission to receive this esteemed award.”
The nomination process which began on November 2017 was open for a span of one month. The jury, which consisted of eminent and celebrated citizens of Bengaluru, interacted with every single finalist, then decided upon the final winner after a due diligence.
Justice (Retd) Swatanter Kumar commemorated the winners and thanked Namma Bengaluru Foundation for its efforts in recognizing the unsung heroes of Bengaluru.
The details of the winners are as below:
Mrs. Rukmini Krishnaswamy, Director, Spastics Society of Karnataka (Namma Bengalurean of the Year)
Currently the Director of Spastics Society of Karnataka, her key areas of interests are: (a) special education of children with special needs, (b) training parents of children with special needs, (c) teacher training in the area of special needs. In her lifespan, she has provided aid to over 70,000 children. More than 3500 children across Karnataka are currently being taken care of by the society. She is a National Awardee in the field of Rehabilitation Education.
Mr. Sanjeev Dyamannavar, Member, Praja Raag (Citizen of the Year)
Sanjeev developed a platform for informed debate on the city’s myriad issues, aided with domain expertise and officials of civic agencies interlocuting with the citizens. He has been a key campaigner to get the Commuter Rail for Bangalore during last 10 yrs. Worked on City Public Transport Issues, Metro, BMTC, Pedestrian facility including FOB, Skywalks. Working very closely with authorities on Multi modal Integrated Public Transport System for Bangalore. Played major role in getting Shelter for Majestic BMTC skywalk including renovation. Regularly Participating in Consultation Papers of AERA for Airport UDF of Bangalore & Mumbai. He is also part of Jakkur and Rachenahalli lake protection committees. Monitoring Railway development works in and around Bangalore, bringing transparency in Bangalore Metro. He has Contributed for Waste Segregation, E-waste & Dry leaves Compost at surrounding residential areas.
Mr. Rasheed Kappan, Civic Affairs Editor, Deccan Herald (Media Person of the Year)
Urban issues being his area of key focus, Rasheed has over the years brought to light several stories impacting the city at large. His front-page story exposing the Integrated Skywalk project at Mahatma Gandhi Circle poised to destroy the green aesthetics of the place along with numerous follow-ups resulted in the project being kept on hold. He has also extensively worked on spot reports, researched and analytical stories on Extensive spot reports, researched and analytical stories on encroachment and pollution of lakes, suburban rail project, steel flyover project, etc.
Mrs. Dipika Bajpai, Deputy Conservator of Forests, Bangalore Urban Division (Government Official of the Year)
Actively works towards sensitizing the masses about the significance of protection of forests, initiated public participation in mass planting programs and created a sense of ownership with the existing forests. She successfully recovered 149 acres and 13 guntas of forest land that were encroached upon in JB Kaval, Buttanahalli, Kaggalipura, Yelahanka, Sunkadakatte, Mylasandra and Thurahalli.
Mr. Prashant S B, Chairman, Nayonika Eye Care Charitable Trust (Social Entrepreneur of the Year)
Founded in 2010 by President Dr Surekha and Chairman Prashant S.B., the trust is dedicated to the advancement of eye and vision care through awareness, treatment and monitoring. They are committed to provide comprehensive, affordable / free-of-cost and quality eye care services to the neediest and to make India a better nation with complete eye care for all citizens by marching towards achieving various goals discussed and raised by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Ms. Vidhya Y, Co-founder and Trustee, Vision Empower (Rising Star of the Year)
Co-founded Vision Empower to make education, especially in Math and Science, accessible to the visually impaired. The specific pedagogical needs of blind students are addressed by developing accessible content and teacher training modules using Technology wherever applicable, to encourage them to take up subjects which have been challenging due to the Visual nature of their content. She also provides motivational sessions and 75 students have so far benefited from her counselling. She also hosted an online radio show (35 episodes of 1 hour’s duration), which was well-received by 5000 students world over.
About Namma Bengaluru Awards
The Namma Bengaluru Awards is Namma Bengaluru Foundation’s effort to recognize and honor ordinary citizens doing extraordinary work towards making Bengaluru a better place to live in. These awards truly are the city’s way of saying ‘Thank You’ to its Real heroes. This initiative also aims to encourage citizens to emulate the efforts of these heroes to make meaningful differences to fellow Bengalureans.
Full disclosure: Citizen Matters won Namma Bengaluru Awards in media category in 2014. This is a press note shared by NBF and published here as is.