BURLA(SAMBALPUR): Distinguished Odia poet Dr Soubhagya Kumar Misra was conferred the prestigious Gangadhar National Award for Poetry -2013 during the 48th Foundation Day celebration of Sambalpur University at Jyoti Vihar here on Saturday.
Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan gave the award comprising an ‘angavastram’, a citation and cash of Rs 50,000 to Misra in presence of academician Omkarnath Mohanty, Vice-Chancellor CR Tripathy and Registrar Khetrabasi Manseth.
Instituted in the name of ‘Swabhab Kabi’ Gangadhar Meher, the award has earlier been conferred on renowned Indian poets Vinda Karandikar, Shakti Chattopadhyay, Ramakanta Rath, Rajendra Kisore Panda, Gulzar, Nilamani Phookan, AMK Shahryar, Balraj Komal, Vasdev Mohi among others.
After receiving the award, Misra paid glorious tributes to Gangadhar Meher and the deep impression his books ‘Tapaswini’ and ‘Pranaya Ballavi’ left on him.
Misra also recalled Meher’s unparalleled contribution to enrich Odia literature and language which earned him a distinct place and identity across the country.
Speaking on the occasion, Pradhan recalled his visit to Burla in the aftermath of the death of 14 students of University College of Engineering at Burla, presently renamed VSS University of Technology, who had jumped into Power Channel in 1983. The incident is the reason why he joined student politics, the Minister added.
He stressed on the role Sambalpur University can play in tapping the vast talent pool of the region.
Expressing concern over the Raghuram Rajan report which places Odisha as the most backward State, he said Odisha has failed to liberate itself from negative image.
Laying thrust on skill development, Pradhan said Sambalpur University has to take a lead for development of the region.
He also paid rich tributes to Gangadhar Meher and Bhima Bhoi who enriched Odia literature and language despite adversities.
Eminent folk poet Haldar Bag was also felicitated with Gangadhar Pratibha Samman on the occasion.
In his address Omkarnath Mohanty, suggesting revival of Pushpagiri University that flourished about 80 kms from Bhubaneswar about 1000 years back on the
lines of Nalanda University, called upon the teachers to shift from teacher centric to student centric education.