New Delhi: New Zealand Minister Priyanca Radhakrishnan, ENT surgeon Dr Mohan Thomas Pakalomattom in Qatar, businessman Dr Siddeek Ahmed in Saudi Arabia and businessman K G Baburajan in Bahrain are the four Keralites, who have been awarded the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman.
President Ram Nath Kovind conferred the prestigious award to 26 Indian-origin people, including the four Keralites, and four organisations on Saturday.
Prime Minister Eugene Rhuggenaath of Curacao, a Dutch Caribbean island, and Suriname President Chandrikapersad Santokhi were also among the awardees.
Priyanca Radhakrishnan, the first Indian-origin person to become a Minister in New Zealand, is the daughter of Ernakulam native Raman Radhakrishnan and (late) Usha. Priyanca's mother Usha is the granddaughter of Palakkad native Dr C R Krishna Pillai, who was the founder-president of Madirasi Kerala Samajam.
Kochi native Dr Mohan Thomas secured MS in ENT with a gold medal from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi. He had also won the Kamani Trust Prize for the best student. He is the chairman of the Birla Public School in Qatar.
Palakkad native Dr Siddeek Ahmed is the chairman and managing director of the Eram Group in Saudi Arabia. The group has 40 companies across 16 countries. He also set up the first factory in the power electronics field in the Middle East. And he has the most number of companies with foreign-ownership in Saudi.
Prominent businessman and social entrepreneur K G Baburajan is from Kuttoor near Thiruvalla. He has worked in mega projects such as the King Hamad Causeway, connecting Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. He is the managing director of Vava Drugs and Pharmaceuticals.