By Our Reporter
SHILLONG: The Megh-alaya Youth Icon Award through public voting went to the president of the Bouncers’ Association of Meghalaya (BAM) Junestar Kharbuli. He is also the president of the Youth Congress, East Khasi Hills. Kharbuli got 10,713 votes and scored over other prominent personalities like Conrad Sangma and Larsing Ming Sawyan among others.
Chief Minister, Dr Mukul Sangma named Kharbuli as the first Youth Icon of the State amidst loud cheers from fellow-members of the BAM who escorted their icon to the stage and later lifted him up as a part of the victory celebrations.
Addressing the audience, Dr Mukul Sangma lauded Avenues for their initiative in identifying a wide spectrum of trail blazers who have created a niche for themselves but are not known to many. “It is important to recognize these individuals who work with rare dedication in their chosen fields,” Dr Sangma said adding that such awards should be institutionalized.
The final five contestants named for the Youth Icon Award included Leader of Opposition and National People’s Party legislator Conrad K Sangma, General Secretary of Shillong Lajong Football Club Larsing Ming Sawyan, Eugene Niangti – Promoter, Thrills Fun Park (Meghalaya’s first Go-Karting Circuit) , Activist Lhai Sing Khongshei and Junestar Kharbuli, a bouncer.
Winners for the other categories chosen by a panel of judges included Deepak Laloo for ‘Entrepreneurship’, Dr. Rica Lamar for ‘Social Work’, late Moinul Haque Barbhuiya for ‘Visual Arts’, Br. Eric S D’Souza for ‘Education’, Carmo Noronha for ‘Administration in Education’, Raphael Warjri for ‘Media’, Dominic Stadlin Wankhar for ‘Citizen Journalism’, Deepak N Marak for ‘Conservation’, Dr. Vidanisth Marak for ‘Tradition & Culture’, Denis Ryan for ‘Eco-Tourism’, Wallambok Lyngdoh for ‘Sports and Daniel Ingty for ‘Advocacy’ .
Three others were felicitated for the ‘Creative & Performing Arts’ category which included Afflatus, an all girls rock band, Marding Passah for theatre and Benedict Skhemlang Hynniewta a flutist and artist.
Several dignitaries including Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma, Urban Affairs minister Ampareen Lyngdoh, East Khasi Hills Deputy Commissioner Sanjay Goyal and Commissioner for Tourism RV Suchiang were also present on the occasion.
It may be mentioned that the awards are an attempt to identify and acknowledge people from numerous walks of life who have contributed for the state, both actively and sustainably.
It is learnt that around fifty thousand votes were received for the final five contestants, the voting for which started a month back and ended on the midnight of October 1.
Shillong’s noted Choir group, Aroha, directed by Pauline Warjri, kept the evening alive. Minor glitches crept at the beginning of the programme thanks to power failure which is the only thing constant about the MeECL.