Mangaluru, Jan 27, 2022: The Dakshina Kannada district administration on Wednesday felicitated Mahalinga Naik from Amai village in Bantwal taluk who has been chosen for the Padma Shri Award 2022 during the Republic Day celebrations.
District in-charge Minister V. Sunil Kumar felicitated Mr. Naik in the presence of people’s representatives and other dignitaries. He said that people like Mr. Naik and Harekala Hajabba, who was conferred the award last year, brought name to the district and the State and appreciated their hard work in achieving their goals.
Working as an agriculture labour plucking arecanuts and coconuts in and around Adyanadka, Mr. Naik, now 77, was gifted a two-acre barren land by landlord Amai Mahabala Bhat in 1978. With no water in the vicinity, he began searching for it and realised that digging an open well was not possible for him. Instead, he resorted to the age-old tradition of the region of digging horizontal tunnels into hillocks to get water and in fact, ensured sufficient water supply after he completed digging the seventh tunnel.
His perseverance of four years yielded rich results and Mr. Naik was able to raise arecanut, coconut, cashew and banana plants on his two-acre land to lead a self-sustaining life with the water from the tunnel. After his success story was made public by Adike Pathrike editor Shree Padre, thousands of farmers visited his land to know more about the farming methods, particularly ensuring water supply and also conserving water.
Learning about the benefits of rainwater harvesting, Mr. Naik also dug over 300 pits in the government land abutting his farm to increase groundwater levels. That also strengthened the water source in his farm.