Vikash Sharma

Ranjit Majhi, a champion of implementing Forest Rights Act, was awarded with the prestigious Shambhavi Puraskar 2024, instituted by the Bansidhar & Ila Panda Foundation (BIPF), on Friday. Majhi empowered people of 112 villages in Sundargarh district with the Forest Land Rights and also worked towards environment protection and revival.

At a grand event held today to mark the 11th edition of the Shambhavi Puraskar, Majhi was awarded with a cash award of Rs 2.5 lakh.

“My village is in reserved forest area where there is no mobile network and we have to climb trees or hill. So, I decided to help other villagers. I am happy that the Bansidhar & Ila Panda Foundation (BIPF) recognised my work,” said Majhi.

Apart from Majhi, Sasmita Mangaraj was also felicitated on the occasion for her contribution towards women empowerment through livelihood and making them self reliant. Mangaraj was awarded with a cash award of Rs 50,000 and felicitated by the Jury.

Several eminent personalities including Chetna Sinha, Founder and Chairperson of Mann Deshi Bank, Lt General C P Mohanty and others attended the Shambhavi Puraskar 2024.

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“I feel proud to be a part of the event organised by BIPF and IMFA as they are ensuring that their services reach remote areas. By seeing this, I am sure that other companies will also come forward to serve people and contribute to Odisha’s development through CSR activities,” said Mohanty.

"India will learn from Odisha and also from the winners of Sambhavi Puraskar and those including SHG women who have ensured development reach others as well. I congratulate those who are bringing in a change," said Chetna Sinha.

Speaking to reporters, Shaifalika Panda, Founder & CEO of BIPF and Chief of CSR (Special Initiatives) at IMFA said, “When we started the Shambhavi Puraskar, our intention was to ensure that every individual understands their responsibility towards others, especially poor, backward classes so that their situation can change and they move towards social transformation. This year, Ranjit Majhi has shown courage by guiding 20,000 tribals to get their lands after resolving his own personal issue. We want a lot of youths to come forward and bring change in Odisha through good works.”

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