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This farmer from Mandya invested his fortune to change villagers' fortunes

DH News Service Sep 4 2017, 1:39 IST

70-yr-old labours on solitarily so that waterbodies don't go dry

Kamegowda walks past the pond he built atop Kundani Hill in Malavalli taluk, Mandya district. DH Photo

Kamegowda walks past the pond he built atop Kundani Hill in Malavalli taluk, Mandya district. DH Photo

The region may have been hit by water shortage in the last few years.

But ponds and canals in 10 villages, situated at the foot of Kundani Hill (10 km from Malavalli town in the district), brim with water throughout the year. This is thanks to the efforts of a 78-year-old farmer, who has taken upon himself the task of protecting the natural resources here.

For the past 40 years, Kamegowda, a resident of Dasanadoddi, has been relentlessly working towards saving water, trees and the environment. He has been digging canals, building bunds and roads atop the hill. Dasanadoddi, Pandithahalli, Hosadoddi, Thiruvalli, Panathahalli and other villages at the foot of the hill have benefited by his efforts.

Kamegowda, who never attended school, has constructed check dams atop the hill to save water that flows down the slopes. He has constructed five bunds from the hill up to Dasanadoddi village. If one check dam gets filled, water flows down to the others. Hence, the livestock in the villages get water even during drought.

Now, Kamegowda has begun building two new check dams. While he has started works on one dam, he has identified a place for the other. According to the villagers, Kamegowda even sold his sheep and goats to complete the construction of the dam. He continues despite opposition from his family. So far, he has spent Rs 6 lakh for the works and there are instances of him using even his old-age pension for the purpose.

Kamegowda told DH he had saved Rs 20,000 for the hospital expenses of his pregnant daughter-in-law. “As the delivery was normal at the government hospital, I named my grandchild Krishna and built a check dam in his name,” he said.

The farmer has also grown saplings of ‘bilvapatre,’ flowering plants, tamarind, honge and thousands of other plants atop the hill. He also nurtures the saplings planted by the Forest department.

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