Prez remembers man who took him on bicycle ride

Bhubaneswar: A man who took Pranab Mukherjee, then the AICC general secretary, on a bicyle tour of super cyclone devasted villages in Kendrapara district in 1999, was remembered on Thursday by the President.

Tarunkanta Kanjilal, a resident of Bengali-dominated Ramnagar village under Mahakalpada block in the district, was invited by Rashtrapati Bhavan and met the President at the Raj Bhavan.

"The call came from the the Private Secretary of the President. I was thrilled," Kanjilal said.

Proudly producing a photograph with Mukherjee on his bicyle, Kanjilal said he took him to several villages of Mahakalpada area ravaged by the super cyclone.

"Pranabda had given me some blankets for distribution among the cyclone-hit people. I have apprised the President about the plight of the people even 14 years after the cyclone," he said.

"There is no change in Pranabda even though he has become the President of India. He hugged me as soon as he saw me. He also enquired about the people of my village," said Kanjilal after meeting the President.

His gift of green coconuts was, however, not received by the President.

"I had brought green coconuts for Pranabda as he only drank them while he was visiting our area in 1999," he said, adding his gift was declined because of security reasons.