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Assam govt recognises 5 individuals for highest civilian awards

The government recognised them for their 'pivotal, dedicated and selfless' contribution towards managing the pandemic
Himanta Biswa Sarma.
Himanta Biswa Sarma.
File photo

Umanand Jaiswal   |   Guwahati   |   Published 05.12.21, 12:46 AM

The Assam government on Saturday recognised five individuals for their “pivotal, dedicated and selfless” contribution towards managing the pandemic by including them in the list of the state’s highest civilian awards to be conferred for the first time in January.

The awardees included IAS officer Dr Lakshmanan S, presently the mission director of the National Health Mission (NHM); Munindra Nath Ngatey, director of health services (family welfare); Dr Basanta Hazarika, professor, pulmonary medicine, Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH); ASHA worker Bornita Momin and ANM Namita Kalita.

While Lakshmanan got the state’s second highest civilian award Asom Sourav, the other four figured in Asom Gourav, the third highest civilian award.

Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma announced the names of the 19 recipients of the first Asom Baibhav, Asom Sourav and Asom Gourav — the state version of the Padma awards.

The awardee list was led by former chairman of Tata Sons and philanthropist Ratan Tata for his contribution towards cancer care in Assam. Tata received the state’s highest civilian award – Asom Baibhav.

Sarma said Lakshmanan not only led the fight against Covid from the front, but has worked for nearly 19-20 hours a day for the past two years.

Health department officials said the officer was available almost round the clock, even at 4am, and has already got busy with coordinating efforts to tackle the Omicron, potentially the most challenging Covid variant, and a possible third wave.

Similarly Nath, the health director, played a key role towards the management of Covid vaccination drive in the state overcoming odds, among others.

Guwahati-based Dr Hazarika, who had “declined” the post of GMCH principal, during the first wave proved his “excellence” as the nodal officer by not only “efficiently” managing above 3,000 critical Covid patients in the GMCH but also prepared treatment guideline for managing Covid patients in the state and conducted training on Covid management for doctors/paramedics.

Along with officials, the government also recognised two frontline workers who have battled the odds to spread awareness and remove vaccine hesitancy. One of them was Bornita Momin, an ASHA worker (Accredited Social Health Activist) from Sonitpur district. She played a vital role in “overcoming” superstitious beliefs of the forest dwellers of Phuloguri Garo Gaon in the district regarding Covid vaccination and “got the whole village vaccinated” during the Har Ghar Dastak campaign.

Then there was Namita Kalita, an auxiliary nurse midwife or ANM, from Guwahati. Kalita has had the distinction of administering the highest number of Covid vaccinations — 99,822 doses.

“She has been a friendly and reliable face at GMCH Covid-19 Vaccination Centre and has been serving the community with dedication at several public health care centres,” said an official.

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