Eight achievers from various fields were conferred with the inaugural Lokmat Maharashtrian of the Year awards at a ceremony held at a city hotel on Wednesday night.
The award recipients are Dr Ravindra and Smita Kolhe (social/ public service), Aamir Khan (entertainment), Dr Kalpana Joshi (science and technology), RR Patil (politics), Kavita Raut (sports), Sanjay Gaikwad (business) and Bhagwan Rampure (art).
The awards were given away by Lokmat Media Ltd. The Hindustan Times was the partner for the event.
“There are lots of people who are working in different fields, who do not work with the aim of publicity or recognition,” said Vijay Darda, chairman of Lokmat Media Ltd. “Through this award we wanted to honour achievers in various fields who have made us proud,” he added.
Sports minister Ajay Maken, who had come to the city for the occasion, spoke, about his high hopes for the state.
“I believe India’s hopes for an Olympic gold (medal) will emerge from Maharashtra,” said Maken. “No other state has a combination of talented athletes, sports infrastructure and the resources.”
Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, who was the chief guest on the occasion, spoke about the state’s paucity of natural resources, the need for creating a knowledge economy, and the power of the media. “The media has a very important role to play and Lokmat occupies a special place in the hearts of Maharashtrians,” said Chavan.
Each of the seven awards categories had five nominees, with the list including Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray, ecologist Madhav Gadgil and BJP leader Nitin Gadkari, among others.
Nominees and then winners were selected by a jury comprising the group’s senior editors, eminent figures and through a process of public voting. The panel of judges includes social activist Anna Hazare, former cricketer Dilip Vengsarkar, scientist Raghunath Mashelkar and journalist Rajdeep Sardesai.