Youth in Byrapur, a sleepy village in Siruguppa taluk, have found a way out of unemployment by learning to drive and operate earthmovers. Currently, 30 earthmovers operate in the village.

“In 2000, we hired an earthmover to dig a well in our field. The earthmover had come from Bijapur and its owner asked us why noone in the village owned one. He gave details about getting finance from banks and other institutions. I decided to procure one soon,” Jalihal Hanumantha Gouda, a landlord told The Hindu.

To ensure it would not be a dead investment, he hired a driver and an assistant and engaged the earthmover in road works, canal repairs and other activities, which fetched him additional income to repay loans. Over the years, Mr. Hanumantha Gouda has purchased eleven earthmovers and given it to his sons and nephews to earn a living.

The youths, who had completed their SSLC/PUC/ degree, learnt how to operate and maintain the mover. By availing loans, each one procured an earthmover, said Virupaksha Gouda, a youth who owns three earthmovers. “Every body in the village own lands and cultivates paddy. As families swelled and youths were in need of employment, we thought of treading a different path to stand on our own,” Mr. Virupaksha Gouda said.

They take their earth movers to various places, including Bellary, Hospet, Sindhanur, Lingasugur, Davanagere, Chitradurga, Kolar, Tumkur, to operate when road laying and canal repair works are taken up.

“We do regular maintenance and minor repairs ourselves and go to Bellary for major repairs. After deducting expenses ,we earn about Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 30,000 a month,” said Basavaraj.

The youths assemble in the village on the third Monday of Shravan to participate in the annual festival celebrating the birth anniversary of Shivakumar Swami of Siddaganga math.

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