Underlining the need to protect land, language and culture, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Friday said that the onus was on the people.

He said, “The responsibility lies both with the people and the government.”

Conferring Rajyotsava awards on 58 persons at a colourful function at the Ravindra Kalakshetra, he said that people of the State have to emulate neighbouring States on protecting land, language and culture.

Though number of awards had been limited to 50, it was latter decided to include eight more distinguished persons for their excellence in various fields to mark the 58 Rajyotsava.

The Chief Minister said that he had not interfered in the selection process, except referring the name of S. Ayyappan. “Honouring those who have excelled in various fields and made the land, language and culture proud, is really an honour itself for the government,” he said.

Of the 58 winners, theatre person H. Florina Bai, Agriculture Scientist Dr. Ayyappan and artist Sheela Gowda could not attend the function.

Standing ovation

There was a standing ovation when Mr. Siddaramaiah conferred the award on 93-year-old Sulagitti Narasamma who helped women delivered of babies in rural areas without any medical facility, and Sohan Kumari, a yesteryear singer.

Speaking on behalf of award recipients, theatre and cine actor Girija Lokesh, appealed to the Chief Minister to sanction medical grants to aging artists and help them lead a dignified life.

Writer Ko. Channabasappa said that he had not anticipated the award and that he was happy that his contribution had been recognised.

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