MUMBAI: India's top nuclear scientist, Dr Anil Kakodkar — who played major roles during the Pokhran I and II nuclear tests — besides doing the groundwork for the historic Indo-US nuclear deal — has been conferred with the coveted Maharashtra Bhushan award.
Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, himself a technocrat, made the announcement of the award on Thursday.
“I am very happy and pleased......particularly since it comes from my state,” Dr Kakodkar told Sakal Times, soon after the announcement.
Dr Kakodkar, 69, during his career spanning several decades has handled crucial assignments - like Director of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) and Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), doubling up as Secretary to the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE).
After his retirement as the AEC chief on November 30, 2009, he is associated as a member of the AEC. He is also helping out the government in creating awareness on nuclear issues - and more particularly, he is propagating the need for the Jaitapur project.
Kakodkar took over as Chairman, AEC from Dr R Chidambaram (currently Principal Scientific Advisor to Government of India) in November 2000 and was the only Chairman to get three extensions -- in 2003, 2005 and 2007 -- in the history of India's nuclear programme.
Dr Kakodkar is a recipient of Padma Shree (1988), Padma Bhushan (1999) and Padma Vibhushan (2009). He is also the Chairman of IIT-Bombay.
Kakodkar was born on November 11, 1943 in the Barwani princely state located in Madhya Pradesh.
He is the son of Kamala Kakodkar and Purushottam Kakodkar, both of whom happen to be Gandhian freedom fighters.
Others who have been conferred Maharashtra Bhushan include PuLa Deshpande, Lata Mangeshkar, Sunil Gavaskar, Dr Vijay Bhatkar, Sachin Tendulkar, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, Dr Abhay and Rani Bang, Baba Amte, Dr Raghunath Mashelkar, Ratan Tata, RK Patil, Mangesh Padgaonkar, Nanasaheb Dharmadhikari and Sulochana.
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