Updated: July 7, 2022 4:03:27 pm
Veerendra Heggade, a philanthropist and hereditary administrator of the Dharmasthala temple in Karnataka’s Dakshina Kannada district, is one of the four eminent persons nominated to Rajya Sabha Wednesday.
Heggade, 73, took over as the administrator of the 800-year-old religious place at the age of 20 and has been running several social, economic and cultural institutions.
After his nomination, Heggade told the media: “I never expected that I would be nominated to Rajya Sabha. It is a good opportunity and I am now thinking how it can be utilised. And also on how the programmes that we have come up with in Karnataka can also be implemented at national level. As the nomination came as a surprise, I am yet to think about the future.”
Heggade established the Rural Development and Self Employment Training Institute (RDSETI) which provides awareness about self-employment opportunities and trains rural youth. The central government replicated this successful model and established Rural Self Employment Training Institutes (RSETIs) across the country.
He also conceptualised the Shri Kshethra Dharmasthala Rural Development Project, an initiative for inclusive rural development and self-employment in Karnataka. Currently, the project has more than 6 lakh self-help groups and over 49 lakh members. He also heads the Shri Dharmasthala Manjunatheshwara Educational Trust, which provides education through more than 25 schools and colleges.
ಸಮುದಾಯಕ್ಕೆ ಮಹೋನ್ನತ ಸೇವೆ ಸಲ್ಲಿಸುವ ನಿಟ್ಟಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಶ್ರೀ ವೀರೇಂದ್ರ ಹೆಗ್ಗಡೆಯವರು ಮುಂಚೂಣಿಯಲ್ಲಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಧರ್ಮಸ್ಥಳದ ದೇವಾಲಯದಲ್ಲಿ ಪ್ರಾರ್ಥನೆ ಸಲ್ಲಿಸುವ ಅವಕಾಶ ಹಾಗು ಅವರು ಆರೋಗ್ಯ,ಶಿಕ್ಷಣ ಮತ್ತು ಸಾಂಸ್ಕೃತಿಕ ಕ್ಷೇತ್ರದಲ್ಲಿ ಕೈಗೊಂಡಿರುವ ಮಹತ್ತರ ಕಾರ್ಯಗಳಿಗೆ ಸಾಕ್ಷಿಯಾಗುವ ಅವಕಾಶ ನನಗೆ ಒದಗಿತ್ತು. pic.twitter.com/KwoNdZyW6Z
Heggade was awarded Padma Vibhushan, the second-highest civilian award, in 2015. Before that, in 2000, he was honoured with Padma Bhushan for his social service.
“Veerendra Heggade Ji is at the forefront of outstanding community service. I have had the opportunity to pray at the Dharmasthala Temple and also witness the great work he is doing in health, education and culture. He will certainly enrich Parliamentary proceedings,” said Prime Minister Modi in a tweet in Kannada after the nomination.
Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai congratulated Heggade, expressing confidence that his work and experience would “raise the quality of debates” in Parliament.
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Music maestro Ilaiyaraaja, sports icon P T Usha, and acclaimed screenwriter V Vijayendra Prasad were the three others nominated to Rajya Sabha.
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