PANJIM: The noted construction magnate, industrialist and philanthropist, Mr Anil Counto was honoured with one of the highest Portuguese civilian awards - the Insignia of ‘Commendador,’ Order of ‘Merito’ at the hands of the Ambassador of Portugal to India, Dr Luis Filipe de Castro Mendes, during a special ceremony held in the city, on Saturday.
Portuguese Ambassador Prof. Anibal Antonio Cacaco
Silva presenting Merito award to Mr. Anil Counto
The honour had been earlier announced by the President of the Republic of Portugal, Prof Aníbal António Cavaco Silva for Mr Counto, for his endeavour in strengthening the ties between India and Portugal.
The impressive ceremony was attended by the Consul General of Portugal to Goa, Dr Paulo Neves Pocinho, the Mayor, Ms Carolina Po, the deputy chairman of the State Planning Board, Dr Wilfred de Sousa and the Goan cartoonist of international repute, Mario de Miranda among others.
Speaking on the occasion, the Ambassador of Portugal to India said that his country was very happy to bestow the honour on Mr Counto for his efforts in strengthening the bond of friendship between two great countries.
The Consul General of Portugal to Goa, Dr Paulo Neves Pocinho introducing the recipient of the honour said that Mr Counto was a man of vision and not just an entrepreneur but a citizen who never forgets his duties.
"His works carried out in educational, philanthropic, religious, social, and cultural fields are exemplary," he noted, adding that Semana de Cultural Portuguesa, the Portuguese Cultural Week organised by an organising committee led by Mr Counto, is just one of such many successful works.
In reply, Mr Counto said that the honour is not alone his but that of Goa and Goans.  "I am just a trustee of Goans, who cherish to maintain our unique culture through the social, moral and educational values, which we inherited from our childhood," he added.
Speaking further, Mr Counto suggested that Indian businessmen through Goa and the European Union businessmen through Portugal could use Goa and Portugal as a good corridor for exchange of trade and commerce between European Union and India, which will benefit to all and Goa, in particular.
He also observed that taking into consideration the situation wherein legacy of spoken and written Portuguese language in Goa is fast diminishing, the government should encourage Portuguese as a third language at the high school level, which would equip Goans to properly understand and deal with all Portuguese documentation and records, without having to resort to translators. (NT)


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