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24 children to get National Bravery Awards

Wednesday January 18, 2012 06:44:44 PM, IANS

New Delhi: An 11-year-old boy who saved eight of his school mates from a burning van in Uttar Pradesh, and a 14-year-old girl who rescued her brother from the Maoist attack in Chattisgarh are among the 24 children named for the National Bravery Awards this year for their exemplary acts of courage.

At a press meet here Wednesday, Gita Siddartha, president of the Indian Council for Child Welfare (ICCW), presented the brave-hearts who will be given the award. Of the 24 -- eight are girls and 16 boys -- five children will be awarded posthumously.

"Last year, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh promised to enhance the prize money and this year the prize money is three times higher. Eighty percent comes from Ministry of Women and Child Development and 20 percent comes from the ICCW. Usually each honoured child gets a cash award ranging from Rs.7,000 to Rs.10,000, but, this year the prize money ranges between Rs.24,000 to Rs.50,000," Aseem Paul, director of ICCW, told IANS.

The prize money for Bharat Award is Rs.50,000, recipients of Geeta Chopra Award would receive Rs.40,000, the Bapu Gaidhani award prize money will be Rs.24,000. For others, the award will carry Rs.20,000.

President Pratibha Patil will host reception in the honor of the award winners.

Om Prakash Sharma, an 11-year-old boy from Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh, saved lives of eight of his school mates from a burning school van and suffered 70 percent burns.

"I feel very proud because I saved lives of my fellow school mates. I am happy to receive this award from the Prime Minister. My message is that people must help each other," said Sharma.

The coveted Bharat Award has been conferred on 15-year-old Kapil Negi from Uttarakhand who helped his classmates cross a flooded stream. Kapil lost his life in his endeavour.

An emotional Anita Negi, Kapil's mother, said: "He wanted to become a software engineer. We are proud of my son, but he is no more."

Thirteen-year-old Mittal Patadiya from Gujarat, who faced an armed gang and foiled their robbery attempt, will be conferred with the Geeta Chopra bravery award.

Anjali Singh Gautam, 14, of Chhatisgarh saved her younger brother in a Maoist attack. With Aditya Gopal of Arunanachal Pradesh, Uma Shankar of Delhi, she will be awarded with the Bapu Gaidhani awards.

The children have been selected for the honour by a committee comprising representatives of various ministries, NGOs and ICCW members. They will receive a silver medal, a certificate and the cash award from the prime minister ahead of the Republic Day Jan 26.

According to the ICCW, eligible award winners will be granted financial assistance until they complete their schooling as part of the ICCW's sponsorship programme. They will be facilitated to study professional courses like medical and engineering under the Indira Gandhi Scholarship Scheme.

The children will also participate in the Republic Day parade, seated on richly caparisoned elephants.

The National Bravery Awards that recognise deeds of brave children have been an initiative of the ICCW since 1957.





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