This septuagenarian 'Green-Revolutionary' leads way with sustainable model farming

Anusha N Bhat | coastaldigest.com
February 2, 2019

At 73-years of age, Mahalinga Naik breaks into a smile, when residents of Amai village at Bantwal taluk point towards him as the local 'Green-Revolutionary'. For a man who never received formal education, Naik has been solely credited for creating a sustainable eco-friendly farmland, which once was barren land and could not even bear a sapling.

At a hillock farmland in Adyanadka, approximately 52 kilometre from the Mangalore city, a two-acre land boasts of 200 banana trees, 300 areca nut trees, 75 coconut palm trees, along with different types of cocoa, pepper vines. The layout of the farmland is not only systematic but does not leave any loose end for wastage. "From mini-irrigational system, conservation of water, to harvesting organic manure, the farmland is equipped to look into each aspect of traditional farm land," says famed Editor of Adike Patrike Shree Padre.

While today the agricultural revolution at Adyanadka has awed several agriculturists, in fact it has even fetched Mahalinga Naik with awards including ‘Krushi Panditha’ conferred by the Karnataka government in 2010. Recently, he was honoured with ‘Mangalore Press Club Award 2018’. Shree Padre has also released a small booklet on Naik by the title ‘Guddada Melina Ekvyakti Sainya’.

It was about forty years ago, when Naik was just another sharecropper at a land owned by one Mahabala Bhat. Earning a daily wage between Rs 1.50 to Rs 5, Naik managed his household. However, pleased with his dedication for the farmland, in 1979, Bhat gave Naik a two-acre land from his property.

“I was overjoyed with emotions, and swiftly was able to build a humble hut for my family. But the land had no water source for cultivation, we had to walk for about a kilometre for it and the effort was futile. I realised that to take care of my farmland and feed my family, I had to do something,” he says.

For the need of drawing water, Naik eventually decided to carve a ‘Suranga’ (tunnel) to naturally draw water for his cultivation. However, given his financial condition, Naik says he was unable to hire labourers, therefore he decided to use his part time from agriculture to dig the Suranga.

Each day, Naik would return from cultivation and then religiously start digging ‘Suranga’ to find the source of water. “My search for water was more instinctive than scientific. I started digging at places approximately about 100 feet each, where I thought I could find water, but was repeatedly disappointed,” he says.

In the pursuit for water, Naik says he has been mocked and even called names by locals for wasting his time. “I didn’t mind being called names, but I continued my effort for about 6-7 hours, day or night. At times I had to either crawl or squeeze myself between tiny spaces to get through these tunnels and excavate soil. My wife would not be happy, when she would come searching late at night,” he says.

For close to five-years, Naik failed in his endeavour. “Except rainy season, I never gave up on the excavation work. But by then, I had dug about four tunnels and not coming face to face with water was a bit unsettling,” he says.

It was only when Naik struck the sixth Suranga, in a bit further location that Naik felt some wetness in soil, which was an indication for the presence of water in the area.

With the new found development, Naik’s optimism had no bounds, he immediately went further to a higher topography and aggressively dug to find water and he did.  “It made me confident to probe further and I dug another one for domestic consumption,” he says.

To boost the texture and moisture of the soil, Naik also created small ponds across several places in the farmland which would capture rainwater, which Naik had learnt in an agriculture workshop. Naik even placed close to over 5,000 laterite stones to build retaining walls and prevent soil erosion.

Slowly the efforts paid-off, the same land which earlier harboured fragmented grass patches, eventually saw the growth of banana, cocoa, pepper vines, coconuts and areca-nuts. Besides, the farmland also hosts eight to ten honeycombs, alongside a vegetable garden where he grows ladies finger, cucumber, brinjal and so on.

Naik’s farm has become a must see model-farmland and has over 500 visitors a year. “When people visit, I feel very happy,” says Naik.

Sticking to his principle of Hasige Iddastu Kaalu Chachu (Being content with what one has), Naik says he would use only one acre of land for cultivation. “In another, I have built a house and want the same land to grow as natural forest so that future generation can benefit from it. If my experience can help others learn to make profit out of farming, then that would make me content,” he says.

Comments

Ann Pinto
 - 
Thursday, 9 May 2019

Wonderful....for sharing your story on how it’s possible to revive water and increase the water table and make a living too..

SD
 - 
Monday, 4 Feb 2019

Well done, Mr. Naik! Very happy that all your hard work paid off.

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News Network
June 24,2022

Bengaluru, June 24: BJP leader and Food and Civil Supplies Minister Umesh Katti has said that Karnataka will be divided into two and India will have 50 new states after the next Lok Sabha elections. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself will take the initiative on this issue, Katti added.

Katti, a vocal proponent of separate statehood for north Karnataka, , made the statement at a Belagavi Bar Association event on Wednesday. A video of his speech has now gone viral.

“A debate is trending on social media that over 50 states will be formed in the country after next Lok Sabha polls. It is for sure that North Karnataka will also become a separate state on the basis of population spread across Karnataka. After the 2024 elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself will form new states. Maharashtra will become three, Karnataka two, and Uttar Pradesh will become four states,” Katti said.

Saying that Bengaluru city is overcrowded, lacks water supply for citizens who have to spend hours in traffic jams, Katti said that it was high time that IT companies thought beyond Bengaluru. North Karnataka has huge potential, he said, urging people to join hands to demand a north Karnataka state.

Katti, who represents Hukkeri Assembly constituency, has demanded separate statehood for north Karnataka in the past too, causing embarrassment to the ruling BJP. In 2019, Katti demanded then chief minister B S Yediyurappa award separate statehood to north Karnataka.

In 2021, Katti courted controversy by saying that people “low on confidence” in fighting coronavirus could not be saved.

Siddaramaiah slams

Meanwhile, former chief minister and Congress Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah on Thursday criticised Katti saying “to even think of dividing the state was equivalent to betraying mother, motherland and mother tongue.”

“Many Kannadigas had sacrificed everything to realise a unified Karnataka. To even think of dividing our state is equivalent to betraying mother, motherland and mother tongue. Minister Umesh Katti has revealed that the discussions are being held at Prime Minister @narendramodi’s level to divide Karnataka. This is a very dangerous development,” Siddaramaiah tweeted.

Siddaramaiah also sought a clarification from Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on the issue. “@PMOIndia @CMofKarnataka  @BSBommai should issue clarification about this. This is not the first time Minister Umesh Katti has made such statements,” the former CM said.

CM disowns statement

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Thursday disowned the statement of his cabinet. “There is no thinking or proposal at the government level at all on a separate state of North Karnataka,” Bommai told reporters in New Delhi.   

“This is not the first time Umesh Katti has spoken about it. He has been saying it for many years. He should himself reply to this question”, he shot back to a query posed by reporters.

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News Network
June 30,2022

floods.jpg

Mangaluru, June 30: Following heavy rains and floods in Dakshina Kannada, Deputy Commissioner K V Rajendra has declared a holiday for all educational institutions across the district tomorrow (July 1).

The DC had earlier declared for schools in Mangaluru City Corporation (MCC) limits today (June 30). However, students who had already reached schools had to stay in classrooms due to increased rains.

Due to heavy rains, many low-lying areas like Kottara Chowki have been inundated with rainwater. Traffic flow was choked at many places including Mahaveer (pump well circle)with water flooding the roads.

The stretch near Kalladka, where the road was dug up to build a flyover, was sealed off for traffic. The stretch was inundated with rainwater.

Overflowing storm water drains had flooded residential colonies in Malemar, Ballalbagh and surrounding areas. Social media was flooded with messages warning commuters on avoiding flooded streets and areas.

The India Meteorological Department declared an orange alert in the district on July 1. Hence, the DC has declared a holiday for the educational institutions.

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News Network
July 4,2022

Bengaluru, July 4: Karnataka High Court Justice H.P. Sandesh on Monday lashed out at the authorities saying that he received a transfer threat as a result of his remarks against the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB).

While looking into the bail plea of the accused who was caught red-handed accepting a bribe at the Bengaluru Urban District Commissioner's office, Justice Sandesh said that he is ready to be transferred.

"I am ready for it for the good of people. Your ACB ADGP (Seemanth Kumar Singh) seems to be a powerful person. Somebody has told me this to my colleague. I have been informed about it by a judge. The threat of transfer will be recorded in the order," Justice Sandesh stated.

"I don't fear anyone. I am ready to bell the cat. I have not accumulated property after becoming a judge. I don't care if I lose the position. I am the son of a farmer. I am ready to till the land. I don't belong to any political party. I don't adhere to any political ideology," he remarked.

The counsel for the government in the case informed the bench headed by Justice Sandesh that the information regarding 'B-reports' (closure reports) had already been given to the division bench.

Earlier, the bench had directed the authorities to submit all closure reports filed till date. The court had underlined that the ACB had been turned into a collection centre. Closure reports are filed on those who were caught red-handed taking bribes, the bench stated.

"The second accused in the DC office raid case was appointed on a contract basis for the job of collection of money. You have been filing B-reports on those who were caught red-handed. Why are you not furnishing details to me, while the information has already been given to the division bench?" Justice Sandesh questioned the counsel for ACB.

"Are you protecting the public or tainted persons? The black coat is not for the protection of the corrupt. Corruption has become cancer and it should not reach the 4th stage. The officers are being extorted after threatening them with search warrants," Justice Sandesh noted.

"What should be done when the fence eats up the crop? The service records of ACB ADGP have not been produced before the court. You have reached a stage of issuing threats to the judge. The whole state is mired in corruption. If Vitamin M (money) is there, you (ACB) will protect anyone," he said.

The bench directed the DPAR Secretary to present before the court. The ruling BJP had transferred Bengaluru Urban District Commissioner J. Manjunath following the previous observation by the bench. 

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