Chotai has also received many awards from the Government of Ontario and various community organizations
Toronto: Congratulatory messages have been pouring in from across Canada to Ramesh Chotai, the co-founder and past chair of Canada India Foundation, on being awarded the prestigious Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award, the highest civilian award bestowed upon overseas Indians by the Government of India.
Mr. Chotai was honoured with the award by the President of India His Excellency Ram Nath Kovind at a glittering ceremony on 23 January, the concluding day of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, the annual conglomeration of the Indian diaspora, held this year in the holy city of Varanasi, India.
The Canada India Foundation had nominated Mr. Chotai for the award. Mr. Anil Shah, Chair, CIF, said, “Ramesh Chotai epitomizes the strength of the Indian diaspora in Canada. He has selflessly and sincerely worked for the Indo-Canadian community for nearly five decades. He deserves this honour and we are proud of his achievement.”
Mr. Satish Thakkar, National Convener, CIF, said, “Ramesh Chotai commands great respect from the Indo-Canadian community because he always puts the community first and always comes forward to help everyone. This award is a recognition of his indefatigable spirit.”
His Excellency Vikas Swarup, the High Commissioner of India to Canada, while congratulating Mr. Chotai, said, “The Pravasi Bhartiya Samman Award is a well-deserved recognition for Mr. Chotai’s decades of service to the community.”
Echoing this sentiment, Canada’s Minister for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Hon. Ahmed Hussen, said, “I would like to congratulate Mr. Ramesh Chotai on receiving the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman award, India’s highest civilian award.”
The Minister added, “Mr. Chotai is an inspiring example of an individual who made Canada his new home and gives back to the community locally and internationally in so many ways. I would like to thank Mr. Chotai for his hard work and dedication.”
India’s Minister of External Affairs, Hon. Sushma Swaraj; the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Hon. Yogi Adityanath; and the Governor of Uttar Pradesh, Hon. Ram Naik, were present at the award presentation ceremony.
An ecstatic Mr. Chotai, upon receiving the honour, said, “I am delighted and humbled to receive the Parvasi Bharati Saman from the President of India, H.E Ram Nath Kovind ji. I am very thankful to the community and particularly to my wife Krishna Chotai, a woman who stood beside me in this journey of community service.”
The Pravasi Bharatiya Samman (Overseas Indian Honour/Award) is an award constituted by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, Government of India, in conjunction with the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (Non-Resident Indian Day), to honour exceptional and meritorious contribution in their chosen field/profession. The Award carries a bilingual Sanad under the hand and the seal of the President of India in addition to a citation and a gold medallion.
Hon. Deepak Obhrai, Member of Parliament from Calgary Fair Lawn, and recipient of the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award, said, “I am proud of Ramesh Chotai’s many accomplishments ever since arriving in Canada in 1972.
This award recognises his hard work and innovativeness in building trade and cultural bridges between Canada and India. I wish him all best as he continues his good work.”
Mr. Chotai received the honour in category of philanthropy, business and promoting Canada – India relations. He is the President of Bromed Pharmaceuticals, one of the leading pharmaceuticals companies in Canada, bringing employment to several individuals and one of the leaders in pharmaceutical formulation technology.
Mr. Chotai was CIF’s Chair during 2009-2011 and under his leadership, many strategic initiatives were organized such as Canada India Energy Forum and Canada India Mining and Metals Forum. He was also member of two delegations led by Premiers of Ontario to India. He was also the Co-Chair of Canada India Health Care Summit which was held both in Canada and India.Mr. Chotai pursued his education as Pharmacist in the UK and Switzerland and joined ICI Pharmaceuticals in Kampala, Uganda. He came to Canada in 1972 as a refugee. Starting as a Pharmacist/Manager at an Oshawa Pharmacy, he has built a successful group of companies that manufactures and distributes medical and healthcare products around the world.
Acknowledging the immense contributions of Mr. Chotai, His Excellency Dinesh Bhatia, the Consul General of India in Toronto, who will soon take charge as the Ambassador of India to Argentina, said, “My heartiest congratulations to Mr. Ramesh Chotai on being conferred the well-deserved Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award, by the Hon’ble President of India, on 23 January 2019. The conferment of the Award on Mr. Chotai recognises his contribution to the Indo-Canadian community activities.”
His Worship Patrick Brown, the Mayor of Brampton, in a tweet, said, “Congratulations to my good friend Ramesh Chotai on being awarded the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award from the President of India Ram Nath Kovind. Way to go, Ramesh!”
A prominent community builder and a philanthropist, Mr. Chotai is the past President of the Hindu Mandir and Cultural Centre, the Vice-Chairman of the Canadian Museum of Indian Civilization, the President of Vraj Canada Community Centre and Canada Serves, and a former President and current Advisory Board Member of the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce. He has received many awards from the Government of Ontario and various community organizations.
Member of the Ontario Provincial Parliament from Mississauga-Malton, Hon. Deepak Anand, in a tweet, said, “Congratulations Mr. Ramesh Chotai on getting the Government of India’s highest civilian award – the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award. Thank you for your continuous service as a global community builder and a philanthropist. Best of success for future endeavours.”
In 2001, Mr. Chotai was instrumental to raise $1.6 million in three weeks for Gujrat Earthquake relief and it created a partnership with Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) to match $3.2 million to build 802 homes, 32 schools, 4 community center and four medical mobile clinics in the earthquake-ravaged areas in Gujarat.