Daitari Nayak, a 70-year-old Odisha farmer has single-handedly carved out a 1.5 kilometer canal from the Gonasika mountains in Keonjhar district to ensure flow of water from a stream to the parched land in the downstream for cultivation.
Fondly called as “Canal Man” for digging the canal, Daitary patiently cut the steep hillsides for three years (2010-2013) and cleared the rocks to make the stream slowly snake down.
“My fields were dry and there was no other way I could water them. The only option was to use the water from the nearby hill. When I first began cutting the mountains, many laughed at me. But a few months later, my five brothers joined me. Together we made this happen” recalled Daitari.
“It is the fruit of our efforts and we are happy for being able to make this channel for the villages. There were times when the task would get extremely difficult but we never gave up. We used only digging bars and hoes to cut the channel. It took us 3 years, but we are happy that we finally completed it. The smiles on the faces of our family and other villagers are our rewards,” said Daitari.
Now that the canal is ready, residents of Daitari’s Baitarani village wish that the structure could be given a concrete lining to ensure a smooth flow of water.