Mangaluru: The Mangaluru Press Club Award 2018 will be conferred on Mahalinga Naik (73), the man who single-handedly dug six tunnels to find water for cultivating his barren land.
A committee, led by Prof. Balakrishna Gatti, Vasanth Kumar Perla and Dr Nagaveni Manchi, have selected Mahalinga Naik for the award.
The award will be presented to Naik on 5 January 2019, on Press Cub Day programme to be held at Urwa Church Hall in Lady Hill, Mangalore.
Naik was working as a daily wage labourer for a local landlord Mahabala Bhat forty years ago. Impressed by Naik ’s hard work, the landlord awarded him 2 acres of land in Amai near Adyanadka.
The land lacked water source. So cultivating it was difficult. But Naik was determined to find a water source in his land. Naik could not afford to dig a well. So he decided to dig a tunnel horizontally at the bottom of the hill adjacent to his land. He worked in the plantations during the day as daily wage labourer and during the night he dug the tunnel to find water. His first tunnel was 30 meters long but didn’t fetch any water. He dug four more tunnels one after the other hoping to get water. It was in the sixth tunnel that he found water at 25 meters. Since that water was not sufficient he dug further up to 75 meters and got sufficient water to cultivate his two-acre land.
He cultivates Banana, Areca, Coconut, Paddy and Pepper in his one-acre land. In another acre, he has grown Cashew trees. He has constructed a tank to store water from the tunnel. The water flows to another huge clay pond from the tank. From the pond, water flows to his plantations. He used to climb coconut and areca nut trees till 14 years ago. He had to stop after accidentally falling off a coconut tree.
Naik uses organic manure in his agricultural land. He has rainwater harvesting pits in his farm. He has about 300 areca nut trees, 75 coconut trees, 200 banana plants in his farmland.