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Padma discordant note

Patna, Jan. 27: The Centre has rejected Bihar’s recommendations on the Padmashree Award, conferring the honour on two others who did not feature in the list prepared by the state.

The awardees from the state are J.P. Singh, a former English teacher at Magadh University, and Ashraf-e-Alam, a former vice-chancellor of Maulana Mazhrul Haq University. Sources said the list cleared by an expert committee headed by chief secretary A.K. Sinha included urologist Ajay Kumar, dolphin expert R.K. Singh, who has been working on the ecology of the Ganga, high court advocate- general Rambalak Mahto, artist Shyam Sharma, folk singer and poet Shanti Jain and neurologist Vinay Karak.

R.K. Sinha has earned the Order of the Golden Ark, the most excellent Order of The Netherlands. His recommendation weighed heavily in the declaration of dolphin as the national aquatic animal. Urologist Ajay Kumar was the B.C. Roy National Awards winner n 2007 and is a World Medical Association Council member.

Shyam Sharma, the former principal of College of Arts and Craft, Patna, has earned numerous awards. While Shanti Jain is a popular voice on All India Radio, Rambalak Mahto is the advocate-general. Vinay Karak has been a neurologist of fame.

Some social activists were in favour of “scrapping” of such awards on the plea that the criteria to select the awardees “are not foolproof”. “Lok Nayak Jaiprakash Narayan had opposed conferring of the Padma awards during the movement against Emergency. We are also opposed to civilian award,” Razi Ahmad, the secretary of the Gandhi Sangrahalaya said.

Sources said the state government’s recommendation for the 2013 awardees went on December 12, “which was quite late”. A source said: “This might be one reason for the Centre not considering the recommendation.”