He is accompanied on the 1,085-kilometre trudge by three friends, Rajendra Prasad Sharma, Prashant Patil and Suryakanth Patil. The trio are walking with him in a normal manner so as to guide him along the way.
The four friends arrived in Karwar on Friday night and stayed at Majali overnight. On Saturday, they called on Uttara Kannada Deputy Commissioner B N Krishnaiah and proceeded on their onward journey.
They started from Mumbai on December 26 and aim to reach their final destination in a month’s time. Mokal, who has founded the Shiledar Prai Pravasi Sangh, undertook the first backward walkathon from Mumbai to Raigad in 1990.
In 1995, he walked backwards from Mumbai to Pratapgad to spread the message of eye donation. In 2001, he undertook the backward walkathon from Mumbai to Ahmedabad, in 2006 Mumbai to Goa and in 2007 from Mumbai to Belgaum. In the subsequent year, he walked backwards from Mumbai to Indore in Madhya Pradesh.
Mokal has taken up this daunting task not with an eye on any record, but with the sole aim of attracting passersby on National Highway 17. This way, people come to him and he can explain to them the importance of donating eyes, says Mokal.
He has covered a distance of 550 kilometres from Mumbai to Karwar, walking an average of 30 to 35 kilometres a day. A remarkable speed indeed walking backwards. Luckily, neither Mokal nor his aides have had to encounter any health problem mid-way.
If they come across any school or college en route, the awesome foursome stop by and address the students about how donating one’s eyes can light up the lives of two visually-challenged people.