Bangalore, Jan 13: The State Government has selected Dharmasthala Dharmadhikari Dr. D. Veerendra Heggade for Karnataka Ratna title for the year 2009.
Dr.D Veerendra Heggade, Dharmadhikari of Shri Kshetra Dharmasthala, is a man of outstanding credentials. The head of a religious institution that draws millions of devotees from all over the country, his stature, however, doesn’t confine to a single field of achievement. A leader in the fields of social service and education, Dr. Heggade has been quite instrumental in spreading knowledge through the various educational institutions set up under the aegis of SDM Educational Society. As president of the Society, he is heading more than 40 institutions.
The Shri Kshethra Dharmasthala Rural Development Project (SKDRP), the poverty eradication programme conceived by Veerendra Heggade encompasses over 100 of villages and covers over 1.35 lakh families in agriculture, transfer of technology, women empowerment, housing, alternative sources of energy, income generating activity, micro finance, education and health. The beneficiaries are the poorest among the poor. The SKDRP has spent more than Rs.10 crore in developmental projects. This has generated more than Rs.90 crore besides creating rural employment improving the living standards of the people. Another significant achievement was the establishment of the RUDSETI, the Rural Development and Self-Employment Training Institute in collaboration with Syndicate Bank, Syndicate Agricultural Foundation and Canara Bank. The institute set up in various places aims at imparting vocational training to needy youth. Heggade’s contribution towards health care is unlimited. Fully equipped mobile hospital is made available to deal with emergencies and provide medical treatment to the rural people. A modern T.B.Sanitorium has been built by Dharmasthala Manjunatheswara Medical Trust to give relief to the patients of tuberculosis. Ayurvedic Hospitals, Nature Cure Hospital and Eye Hospitals have also been set up.
He is the recipient of Padmabhushan and many prestigeous awards.
Karnataka Ratna is the highest civilian honour of the state. The government has not announced the date for conferring the title.