Prestigious Padma Vibhushan award conferred to Dr D Veerendra Heggade

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New Delhi, April 8: Dharmadhikari of Shree Kshetra Dharmasthala Dr D Veerendra Heggade was conferred the prestigious award – Padma Vibhushan, on Wednesday April 8th, in recognition of his immense contribution to society, especially in rural development and empowerment of women and youth.

President of India Pranab Mukherjee presented the award at a ceremony held at Raj Bhavan here.

Dr Veerendra Heggade said he felt humbled to receive the prestigious award and added that he would dedicate himself to the cause of social welfare even more.

Dr Veerendra Heggade thanked the lord and said, I undertake every activity is based on the experience I have gained from Dharmasthala temple. Shree Manjunathaswamy Temple has a history of 600 years. Throughout, the temple has mainly engaged in two duties – one, serving lord Manjunathaswamy and looking after the temple activities, and secondly taking care of the devotees who arrive at Dharmasthala to offer prayers to lord Manjunathaswamy.

Daily, I interact with 500 to 1000 people and around 2000 people on Sunday and Monday, and when I converse to them, it is a learning experience as they share their personal grievances. I gather the information they provide and look at it as a social worker.

Being the Dharmadhikari of Dharmasthala, it is my duty to engage in charitable and philanthropic works. We have done charity works in an organized manner through several programmes while ensuring that the aid reaches the beneficiaries directly. When your work is recognized by the government, the highest authority, it gives a feeling that the government is satisfied with your work, and that gives me satisfaction. It has encouraged me to serve even more in future, he said.

The rural development project was started to restore people’s faith in god, through self-employment, micro finance, women empowerment and so on. There are many ideas and I have a very good crew which supports me that never steps back from any work, Dr Heggade added.

In recognition of his services, Dr Heggade was awarded Padma Bhushan in the year 2000, followed by Rajiv Gandhi Award in 2007, Karnataka Ratna in 2009 and many more.

Dr D Veerendra Heggade, a visionary who has brought about a revolution in various fields, took charge of Dharmasthala temple in 1968, when he was only 20 years old. His innovative socio-economic programmes and projects have modulated the lives of thousands. He is also a connoisseur of art and architecture, and has led the renovation of historical buildings and temples in Karnataka. He set up Rural Development Self-Employment Training Institute (RUDSETI) in 1982 which is today spread across 13 states.

Shree Kshethra Dharmasthala Rural Development Project (SKDRDP) another popular initiative taken by him has helped thousands of families to make a better living.

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