Waterman keeps vigil in Hunsur

Waterman keeps vigil in Hunsur

This is the story of interlinking water bodies, thanks to the efforts of one people’s representative. An excellent example to prove that channelising government funds in the right direction works wonders for the development of a region. The region we are talking about is in Mysore district. The Gavadagere Zilla Panchayat in Hunsur taluk, to be precise. The interlinking of tanks covers 10,000 acres of irrigable land. This has also solved the water crisis in the region, apart from improving the groundwater levels.  
It all starts off with the Harangi dam. Water from this dam flows into the Munigowdana Kere. Once this tank overflows, the water  is channelised into the Murooru Kere, and from there to Hosakere, Odakekatte Kere, Garikekatte, Gavadagere Kere, Gowrikere, Chikkadigana Halli tank, Tallikoppalu kere, Kereyur and Hulyal tanks, making for a great chain of tanks.

This chain has increased the land that comes under cultivation in the Harangi dam area.
Before the interlinking, all the water that overflowed or was let out of the Harangi would go a waste. But today, there’s an excellent canal network in place. Some of the canals are even linked to the Harangi’s canals.
None of the tanks in the region are newly built ones, nor has de-silting been carried out in a majority of them.  But it has been ensured that the water that flows into the Harangi’s canals feeds the tanks in villages located in the network’s paths.
A new six-feeder channel has also been built. While some tanks enhance irrigable land in the region, some others fulfill the water needs of cattle.
Water has been let into the Mullur tank from the Chamarajanagar right bank canal. Also, as many as 12 tanks including Machabayanahalli’s Gowdanakere, Shirenahalli’s tank, Attikatte tank and Shivanakere are now full, thanks to water from the Harangi.

Every drop saved...
The moment water is released from the Harangi into the canals, there is one person who keeps vigil at all hours. He makes sure that not a drop of water goes waste. The credit of creating this network should go to Zilla Panchayat member Tondalu Ramakrishne Gowda. A civil engineer, Gowda always dreamt of building tanks. His first priority after plunging into politics was the interlinking of tanks.
Even as an Opposition leader, Gowda would make sure he was present on the bunds of the tank the moment water was released from the Harangi. Thanks to persistent efforts made by this people’s representative ever since 1998, all the tanks in the Gavadagere region are full.

There was a time when the people in the Gavadagere region had to struggle for drinking water. They had to trudge at least a kilometre to fetch drinking water. They would carry their clothes, and utensils in a bullock cart to the nearest tank.
Gowda then decided to construct a new tank and channelise water from the Harangi into it. The moment a tank in a village was full, life in the village changed irrevocably. This served as an inspiration for Ramakrishne Gowda to take up bigger challenges.
That came in the form of building Hosakere in 1999. From then, Ramakrishne Gowda never once looked back. “Most of the interlinking work happened in the 1998-99 period.  I was supported by the then government which allowed me the liberty to do what I want,” he explains.

Yet, many tanks are to be de-silted. There are 34 villages in the Gavadagere Zilla Panchayat.  Gowda plans to develop more tanks in the region under the Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.
(Translated by Savitha Karthik)