Rs 25 lakhs, pension for Padma award winners: Telangana CM Revanth

Hyderabad: Telangana chief minister A Revanth Reddy announced that the state government would deliver a cash prize of Rs 25 lakhs and a pension of Rs 25000 per month to Padma award winners from the state.

He made the announcement at an event held at Shilpakala Vedika in the city to felicitate Padma Award winners of this year from the state.

In 2024, 5 individuals from Telangana were named in the list of Padma awards by the Central government. They are A Velu Ananda Chari (Art), Dasari Kondappa (Art), Gaddam Sammaiah (Art), Kethavath Somlal (Literature & Education) and Kurrella Vittalacharya (Literature & Education).

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Revanth said that the decision to a cash prize and pension was taken after observing the “dire economic conditions” faced by many Padma awardees, especially artists, in the past even after winning the prestigious awards.

The event saw the presence of former VP and BJP veteran M Venkaiah Naidu and Telugu senior actor K Chiranjeevi, who also won the Padma Vibhushan award this year under the Andhra Pradesh quota.

Dasari Kondappa

Dasari Kondappa has been bestowed with the Padma Shri award for being the guardian of Burra Veena, an indigenous stringed instrument created using bamboo, gourd shell and metal strings.

The 63-year-old hailing from Narayanpet is described as one of the last Burra Veena players who dedicated his life to the indigenous art.

The third generation Burra Veena player from Damaragidda village in Narayanpet district, he dedicated his life to preserving the art form for over 50 years.

He sings ‘Tatavalu’ socio-religious moral compositions and spiritual-philosophical renditions in Telugu, and Kannada. While the custom of Burra Veena is to play within their own community, Dasari went beyond to attract wider audiences.

Gaddam Sammaiah

Eminent Chindu Yakshaganam theatre artist from Jangaon, Gaddam Sammaiah has been nominated for Padma Shri in the category of art (dance-Yakshagana). The 67-year-old has performed this heritage art form for over five decades. He has performed in over 19,000 plays delivering social messages on issues like total literacy and environment protection. He founded Chindu Yaksha Kalakarula Sangham and Gaddam Sammaiah Yuva Skethram to promote this art.

Hailing from a humble background, he worked as an agriculture labourer. He learnt the art form from his parents who were both Chindu Yakshaganam artists.

Velu Ananda Chari

Padma Shri has been conferred upon A. Velu Ananda Chari for his distinguished services in the field of art. The 71-year-old is a master Stapathi sculptor who has crafted over 1,000 temples globally.

Kethavath Somlal

Kethavath Somlal is another recipient of Padma Shri from Telangana. He got the honour for his contribution to literature and education. The 64-year-old is a renowned Lambadi author known for translating 701 Bhagwad Gita slokas into Lambadi.

Kurrella Vittalacharya

Kurella Vittalacharya has also been conferred Padma Shri for literature and education. The 85-year-old is a distinguished Telugu poet and author from Yadadri Bhuvanagiri district. He established libraries across villages and authored 22 books.