Resurrecting a defunct Kalyani

This year’s monsoon was special for the people of Srinivasapura in the undivided district of Kolar. Century old Munchinillu Bayi Kalyani, the village’s major drinking water source was restored after decades of negligence.

This temple tank dried up over time, owing to people’s negligence. The five-level stone structure covered with weeds and dirt caught the attention of Ravindraiah Kulakarni, the secretary of Nammoru Trust.

Concerned about the status of the Kalyani, he discussed the issue with his environment enthusiast friends Dr Chandan, Peddanna and Halepet Manjunath Reddy. They teamed up with an engineer and decided to desilt the water body. The money marked for environmental activities of the trust was used for this cause.

Once the work started, many people claimed stake of this Government-owned Kalyani. Some blamed the Trust of trying to ‘make money’ in the name of the tank. Determined trust members did not bother. They got the tank desilted at an expenditure of Rs.50,000. In addition, the canal, which had been encroached upon, was identified and cleared.

Waiting for the rains too, to fill the Kalyani, was at hand. Although the skies bestowed their boons just once, in the recent rounds, it was enough to revive the tank that seemed long dead. While it gave a sense of satisfaction to the people who had strived to rejuvenate the tank, it also succeeded in silencing sceptics.

The tank has already collected about five lakh litres of water, said Ravindraiah. Once the Kalyani is full, it would support the residents of Halepet, whose major
occupation is agriculture. “The biggest benefit, probably, would be that the groundwater level will increase, as this is a major problem in the drought-prone
areas,” he said.

Overwhelmed by the result and people’s response to it, the trust has planned to
extend the desilting activity to another 25 of the total 100 kalyanis (tanks) in the region. “We want to rope in localites, as we believe in participatory approach’”said Ravindraiah.

Nammooru Trust, an initiative of like-minded people is involved in several other water and soil conservation activities in Srinivasapura. Apart from developing and maintaining a garden on a Town Municipality site; it has also undertaken transplantation of 20,000 ‘booralu’ cotton saplings (a variety of cotton) with the help of local students. In a drive to keep the town clean, it has placed dustbins in
residential areas.

Members pump in money from their pockets for any environmental activity that the Trust undertakes. Focus is more on inspiring people either to initiate or to
participate in the activities voluntarily.

Interested people can contact Kulkarni on his mobile phone number: 94480058919448005891.

R Chowda Reddy
(Translated by Chitra Phalguni)

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