Assam govt to confer state’s highest civilian award on Ratan Tata

GUWAHATI, Dec 2: The Assam government has decided to confer the state’s highest civilian award, ‘Asom Baibav,’ on octogenarian industrialist and Tata Trusts chairman, Ratan Naval Tata, for his contributions towards furthering cancer care in the state.

“Delighted to announce that the government of Assam has decided to confer its highest civilian award, Asom Baibhav, to R.N Tata, chairman, Tata Trusts, for his exceptional contribution towards furthering cancer care in Assam,” chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma announced in a tweet on Thursday.

Ratan Tata, 83, had served as the chairman of Tata Group from 1990 to 2012, and as interim chairman, from October 2016 through February 2017. He continues to head its charitable trusts.

The Assam Cabinet had in September decided to change the nomenclature of the state’s highest civilian awards, to be given in various fields every year.

Subsequently, the name of the Asom Ratna award has been changed to “Asom Baibhav”, “Asom Bibhushan” to “Asom Saurav” and “Assam Shree” to “Asom Gaurav”.

Earlier, the state Cabinet had (in June) decided to recognise the personalities who made significant contributions to society in various other fields, including literature. While the “Asom Ratna”, now “Asom Baibhav” award will be conferred on one personality, the Asom Bibhushan (Asom Saurav) will be conferred on three; Asom Bhushan to five and Assam Shree to ten personalities every year.

“We will announce the names of the recipients of the other state awards in the coming week. A decision has also been taken to identify and honour unsung heroes who have contributed to the state,” Sarma informed mediapersons in New Delhi on Thursday.

It may be recalled that the Assam government and Tata Trusts had embarked on a joint initiative to establish a comprehensive cancer care network in the state through the Assam Cancer Care Foundation (ACCF) in the year 2018.

Accordingly, foundation stones of 19 modern cancer care facilities were centrally laid at a function, also attended by Ratan Tata, in Guwahati.

Set up in partnership with the Tata Trusts, ACCF aims to establish cancer hospitals in Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Barpeta, Tezpur, Lakhimpur, Mangaldoi, Kokrajhar, Jorhat, Silchar and Diphu by 2022.

Of the 19 facilities, 12 will be comprehensive cancer care centres on the premises of government medical colleges in the state. Another five centres will be set up adjacent to district hospitals.

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