Thousands run mini-marathon to mark Biju Patnaik birth anniversary
BHUBANESWAR: Over 9,000 runners lined up for the 9th mini-marathon held here on Tuesday morning as a part of the Panchayati Raj Day which is celebrated on the birthday of former chief minister Biju Patnaik.
Chief minister Naveen Patnaik flagged off the 6.6 km mini-marathon from Forest Park, which concluded at Kalinga Stadium. The marathon had eight events for male and female sprinters of different age groups with a total cash prize of Rs 2.81 lakh. About 1,974 persons participated in the competitive segment while 7,200 people ran in a mass rally organized on the occasion, official sources said. The major attractions of the mini marathon were body builder Premchand Dogra and sprinter Ashwini Nachappa.
Sports and youth affairs minister Ramesh Majhi said, "The response is really huge. The state government is in the process of formulating a state youth policy which will help empower the youth in many ways."
Muna Bhartuli and Shymali Singh bagged first prize in senior male and female groups, respectively, while Deeptimayi Ray and D K Dandapat came first in the 60 plus age group category. On the other hand, Latarani Das and Bighneswar Mohanty bagged the first prizes in the male and female category in 50 to 60 age group, while Samsad Ara Begum and Suresh Lacra won in the junior category.
The Rourkela Sports Association also organized a Biju Pattnaik mini marathon in Rourkela to celebrate the birth anniversary of the leader. About 650 persons, in as many as six groups participated in this event. Minister of commerce and transport Subrat Taraidistributed prizes among winners.
Later in the evening chief minister naveen Patnaik also inaugurated the 9th Entrepreneurs Week - 2013, in which a large number of industries bodies, entrepreneurs, technocrats, financial institutions and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) participated.
Speaking on the occasion, Patnaik said, "In our state, 1.06 million MSMEs are providing employment to nearly 1.93 million people making it the largest source of employment after the agriculture sector. Moreover, many from the vulnerable and marginalized sectors of society andwomen workers are engaged in this sector."
Among others, MSME and health minister Damodar Rout, finance minister Prasanna Acharya, and industries and excise minister Niranjan Pujari were present at the occasion.