Two individuals, who went out of their way to help the victims of natural calamity that struck Kodagu district in August, have been selected for ‘Coorg Person of the Year 2018’ award.
They are Ponnampet-based Sai Shankar Educational Institutions Chairperson Kolera Zaru Ganapathy and Chennai-based Industrialist and Owner of Sincona Estate in Kodagu Ashok Kumar Shetty.
Kodagu’s news portal www.coorgtourisminfo.com, promoted by journalist P T Bopanna, selected the duo for the award after a poll was conducted on behalf of the portal for the same.
Unlike the previous years, the award is time will be shared by two people.
The year 2018 has been one of the most difficult years for Kodagu in living memory due to the unprecedented floods, death and devastation triggered by landslides.
Under the circumstances, the choice for the award had to be from among those who had played a crucial role in reaching out to the victims of the landslides.
There were many people, who came out of their comfort zone to rescue and offer help to the victims.
The Kodagu district administration and government agencies played a key role in the rescue efforts in the initial days of the landslides.
Zilla Panchayat member Abdul Latif from Suntikoppa donated one acre of land to build houses for the flood victims.
When educationist Zaru Ganapathy heard about the extent of the tragedy from one of his staff members, who was stuck in his village following the landslides, he initially announced that he would take 25 students in his residential school. Gradually, parents of more children starting approaching him.
Ganapathy said at present there were 130 students, from the affected villages, who have been accommodated in the residential school. “We are giving them free education,” he added.
The second person selected for the award is Ashok Kumar Shetty, owner of Sincona Estate, on the Madikeri-Somwarpet State Highway, near Makkandur.
A 450 metre-long stretch of the highway was washed away due to landslides, forcing villagers and students to trek through hills to reach their homes.
Taking pity on the plight of the villagers, Shetty offered nearly two acres of his land to the Public Works Department for restoring the highway link.