New Delhi: Asian marathon gold medalist Sunita Godara and creative satirist Savita Bhatti received the prestigious 11th Kalpana Chawla Excellence Award from Kalpana Chawla’s father Sh BL Chawla at a Function organised at Islamic Centre, New Delhi on March 18, 2015 jointly by Punjab Engineering College Chandigarh Old Boys Association (PECOBA) and cultural Society Sakha
Also, in this Function, Pecoba Awards were conferred on outstanding Punjab Engineering College (PEC) alumni by the PEC Director, Prof Manoj Arora, who had specially come from Chandigarh. The Awardees included former Chairman of Railway Board Mr YP Anand, Ashwani Kumar Goswami (IAS, former Chief Secy, HP Govt. & former Secy, water resources, Govt of India), Jitesh Khosla (IAS, present Chief Secy, Govt of Assam), Mr Vijay Kumar Gupta (Former GM, Northern Railways & now Member Engg, Railway Board), Mr KK Gupta (Director, Mktg, BPCL, Mumbai), Pawan Aggarwal (IAS, Jt Secy, Dept of Skills, GOI) and Mr Vinay Pasricha (CEO, WLC College, New Delhi)
Speaking on the occasion Mr Amarjit Singh Kohli, General Secretary of PECOBA & Chairman Sakha demanded that Kalpana Chawla should be honoured posthumously with Bharat Ratna. He said that the previous Govt had honoured Sunita Williams with Padma Bhushan who is also an American citizen of Indian origin, but the same Govt never accepted PEC alumni demand to bestow any Award on Kalpana Chawla which was raised continuously by the PEC Community, year after year, in last seven Annual Functions on Kalpana Chawla. He said Kalpana Chawla was much senior to Sunita Williams and even lost her life in the pursuit of excellence. The PEC Assembly unanimously adopted a Resolution to this effect and urged the new BJP Govt to honour Kalpana Chawla posthumously with Bharat Ratna.
The Chief Guest at the Function Mr Banarsi Lal Chawla, father of Kalpana Chawla, said Kalpana does not need any such Awards. She is in the hearts of millions all over world. He explained that Kalpana was unconcerned about dozens of similar Awards which she had received during her lifetime and had kept them all in a store.
Professor Manoj Arora, the Director of PEC, Chandigarh who presided over the Function , said that PEC Community is proud of the fact that a recent survey revealed that Kalpana Chawla is the most popular role model and idol of the Indian youth today.
The distinguished guest of the evening, Mr David Mees, Cultural Counsellor of US Embassy, said that Kalpana Chawla is equally popular in America and India. Now that a fresh move has been initiated jointly by President Obama of USA and PM Modi of India to develop closer co-operation between the two countries, Kalpana Chawla’s popularity in both countries can act as an added factor in this relationship.
The Function ended with a unique programme of Musical Homage with live singing and visuals entitled “ Kalpana Ki Udaan, Naari Ka Samman:” produced by Cultural Society Sakha, scripted and compered by Seema Verma, orchestration by Lovely Sharma and produced and directed by Sakha Chairman Amarjit Singh Kohli.