Providing water to parched lands

Achievement: Tondalu Ramakrishne Gowda near the Hosakere tank which he rejuvenated in Mysore district.

Achievement: Tondalu Ramakrishne Gowda near the Hosakere tank which he rejuvenated in Mysore district.  

Muralidhara Khajane

Tondalu Gowda has rejuvenated 30 of

the 34 tanks in Gavadagere hobli

HUNSUR (MYSORE DISTRICT): Farmers at Gavadagere hobli in Hunsur taluk of Mysore district were a frustrated lot a decade ago. Though considered a rain-fed area, it recorded very little rainfall. Scarcity of drinking water was a major problem in the hobli. Although there were 34 tanks, they had dried up owing to the apathy of the people towards conserving them.

But now the situation is completely different. The farmers are not worried anymore as most of the tanks in the hobli are full. Besides providing drinking water, these tanks are irrigating hundreds of acres of land.

All thanks to an initiative taken up by member of the Mysore Zilla Panchayat Tondalu Ramakrishne Gowda to rejuvenate 30 of the 34 tanks in Gavadagere.

Rejuvenating tanks has become an obsession for Mr. Gowda who knocks at the door of every department to get funds to rejuvenate tanks. He personally supervises the filling of tanks during the release of water from Harangi reservoir.

So what made him decide to do this? “When I was in seventh standard, the paddy crop cultivated on our land withered owing to failure of rain. The tanks had dried up. For the first time we bought rice from the fair price shop. I vowed on that day to rejuvenate tanks at least in my hobli to help the people.”

Mr. Gowda, who studied civil engineering, became a member of the Mysore ZP. He decided to do something for the people of Gavadagere by rejuvenating Hosakere tank with funds from the Irrigation Department. He succeeded in constructing the weir and embankment and in filling the tank with water released by the Harangi reservoir. “Now the tank is irrigating more than 2,000 acres in our hobli,” he says with pride.

The success of rejuvenating the Hosakere tank gave him a boost and he took up work on Harave and Mullagowdanakatte tanks. “The late Abdul Nazir Sab, who succeeded in quenching the thirst of the people in rural areas, inspired me. But I have not done anything great. I made use of the programme available in the Department of Irrigation,” Mr. Gowda said.

The residents of Gavadagere say that Mr. Gowda takes personal interest in filling the tanks when the Irrigation Department releases water from the Harangi reservoir.

“Of the 30 tanks which are irrigating the area, 11 are big ones and the rest are medium-sized. It is a tragedy that people are encroaching upon tank-beds for cultivation without understanding the importance of the tanks. If that is stopped and local people take initiative in removing the silt collected, there will be no need to rejuvenate any tank. They will survive on their own,” Mr. Gowda observed.

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