NEW DELHI: Noted environmentalist and social activist Chandi Prasad Bhatt has been awarded the Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration for the years 2017 and 2018.
The award was instituted by the Congress in the memory of the former prime minister and it would be presented on October 31 in a function at Jawahar Bhawan.
"The 31st Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration for the year 2017 and 2018 has been awarded to Chandi Prasad Bhatt for his services in promoting and preserving national integration in the country," a statement from the party said.
This award consists of a citation and Rs 10 lakh in cash to be given to the awardee by chairperson Sonia Gandhi, the Congress president.
It would be presented on October 31, the day former prime minister Indira Gandhi was killed.
Bhatt (85), who hails from Uttarakhand, had founded the Dasholi Gram Swarajya Sangh (DGSS) in Gopeshwar in 1964, which later became a mother-organisation to the Chipko Movement, in which he was one of the pioneers.
He also has a number of publications to his credit. He has earlier been awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award for community leadership in 1982.
He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1986 and Padma Bhushan in 2005. He has also been a recipient of the Gandhi Peace Prize in 2013.
Bhatt has made continuous efforts for upliftment of the poor and downtrodden people of all communities and religions, nationally and internationally for the last six decades.
"In order to uphold the cause of national integration and understanding which was dearest to Indira Gandhi's heart, the Congress in its centenary year instituted the 'Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration', to give recognition to outstanding contribution to this cause by individuals or institutions," said Motilal Vora, member secretary of advisory committee of the award.
Some prominent recipients of the award include Rajiv Gandhi, APJ Abdul Kalam, Shankar Dayal Sharma, Swami Ranganathananda, Aruna Asaf Ali, Beant Singh, Bharat Scouts and Guides, PN Haksar, MS Subbulakshmi, Shyam Benegal, Javed Akhtar, AR Rahman, Ramakrishna Mission Ashram, Gulzar, MS Swaminathan, T M Krishna.