Bhubaneswar: Kamala Pujari, a native of tribal-dominated Koraput district, who has preserved indigenous paddy varieties and promoted organic farming, has been selected for the prestigious Padma Shri.

She has been selected for the country’s fourth highest civilian award for her contribution in preserving endangered seeds and promoting organic farming. She has been selected in the category of agriculture.

Pujari, a tribal woman from Koraput district had become famous by preserving hundreds of local varieties of paddy and promoting organic farming. She is also known for having persuaded villagers in her area to shun chemical fertilisers and adopt organic farming for better harvest and soil fertility.

She is also a member of the Odisha State Planning Board.

Two others from Odisha – D Prakash Rao and Daitari Nayak – are among the 94 people selected for the Padma Shri, the list released by the Ministry of Home Affairs stated.

While D Prakash Rao, who sells tea in Cuttack and runs a school for slum children, has been selected for Padma Shri for social work (affordable education, 70-year-old tribal Daitari Nayak from Baitarani village under Banspal block of Keonjhar district has been selected as he carved out a km-long canal in a stream to irrigate his land.

Rao spends 50 per cent of his income on the education of slum children.