Port Blair, Feb 16: The first ever Samir Acharya Annual Memorial Award and Lecture will be held in the month of March 2021.

The Award and Lecture has been created to honour the life and work of Mr Acharya, who fought for the Andaman & Nicobar Islands’ ecology and tribal communities till his last breath (i.e. 16th Oct. 2020). After his demise, his family decided to come up with this award in order to identify and recognise deserving individuals and organisations doing exemplary work on these issues around coastal communities and ecosystems that he held so dear. The award has been opened for nomination from across the country.

In his three decades of activism in the islands, Mr Acharya inspired and educated many on the need to conserve the fragile ecology of the islands and the need to protect the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) of the archipelago. One of his major achievements as the Secretary of Society for Andaman & Nicobar Ecology (SANE) was the Landmark Supreme Court Ruling of 2002 in response to a petition by SANE, Kalpavriksh and BNHS.

Mr Acharya was born on 16th February 1944 in Balurghat, West Bengal, to Shri Nisheet Ranjan Acharya and Smt. Pratibha Acharya. A bright kid in school, he was double promoted twice, reaching college at the age of 16. Later in his life he shifted to Andaman & Nicobar Islands as the Secretary, Social Welfare and fell in love with the simplicity of the islanders. In the years that followed, he emerged as the focal point for environmental activism in the islands.

The Samir Acharya Memorial Award and Lecture seeks to honour defenders of the archipelago – not to mention other coastal ecosystems. To identify deserving candidates, the family has created an adjudicating jury of four members: Denis Giles, representing the islands and the family; social scientist Simron Jit Singh; coastal research scholar Manish Chandi, and activist Anitha Santhi. This year’s nominations have been invited and will be announced in March. From 2022 onwards, the Award function will be held on 16th February, which is the birth anniversary of Mr Acharya.