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HindustanTimes Sat,25 Oct 2014

UK city to honour Indian-origin entrepreneur

HS Rao, PTI  London, June 24, 2012
First Published: 13:04 IST(24/6/2012) | Last Updated: 13:08 IST(24/6/2012)

In a unique honour, the Nottingham City will confer the title 'Freeman of the City' on an Indian-origin entrepreneur Professor Nathu Ram Puri, the first for an Asian, in recognition of his "distinguished services" to the British city.

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The Certificate of Admission will be presented to Nat Puri, as he is popularly known, at a ceremony in Nottingham City on July 9.

The Honorary Freedom of Borough Act 1885 authorises the granting of status of Honorary Freeman to persons of distinction and persons who have rendered eminent services to the borough.

Puri, a philanthropist, who gave 1 million pounds to London South Bank University to set up Nathu Puri Institute of Engineering and Enterprise in July 2011, will be the first person of Indian or Asian origin to get the honour.

Honorary Freemen of the City, in the modern day, carries no specific rights and privileges, but invitations are sometimes extended to attend special civic events. They have the right to participate in the government of the town corporation and especially the right to elect the Common Council.

Puri was born in 1939 in Mullan Pur, a village in Punjab, just outside Chandigarh and has lived in Nottingham since 1967.

His businesses are based in the UK, USA, Germany, China, Mexico, Hungary and Russia. Before the recent sale of some of his US interests, these businesses employed over 7500 people mainly in manufacturing.

Puri set up The Puri Foundation, a charitable trust in 1988 and The Three R's Education Trust in 2006 with donations averaging over 500,000 pounds a year to good causes since then. He is keen to support education at all levels, including funding 700 "one teacher" schools in Nepal.

In the past he was the founder chairman of Princess Youth Business Trust in Nottinghamshire, president of Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club, member of the Council of the Nottingham University and its Finance and General Purpose Committee.

A 'roundabout' was named after him in Diepersdorf in the County of Nurnberg, Germany.

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