Hassan: This is a story about a wait-marathon of a farmer for his reward from the Union Government for discovering missing navy helicopter. It was in July, 1991, a navy helicopter which left Mangaluru for Bengaluru did not reach. The chopper had four men including a colonel.
The team of 45 navy officers tried hard to find the debris of helicopter so as to recover the black box. But they failed to find the chopper and stopped searching. Then the Union Government announced a prize for anyone who discovers the chopper. No one knew what happened to the helicopter and personnel on board since distance between Bengaluru and Mangaluru is more than 300 kilometers.
However, villagers in Sakaleshapura Taluk searched for chopper in Shiradi Ghat forests following the clue of last conversation of the personnel. That is how H. R. Putta Swamy Gowda, a native of Vanaguru in Sakaleshapura Taluk managed to discover the debris of helicopter in Aramanebetta forest in the year 1992. The missing helicopter and skeletal remains of four personnel and a bag containing navy records also was found by Putta Swamy.
Speaking to News Karnataka Putta Swamy Gowda said, “after search in Western Ghats, I found chopper and handed over records to navy officers. The Sakaleshapura sub-divisional Magistrate (SDM) Atul Kumar Tiwari lauded my efforts and gave me a cash prize of Rs. 10,000.”
The District Administration promised to provide him a job and four acres of land. But even after many efforts the government didn’t give anything despite promise. Gowda said, “at the time, I was 33 years of age, and now I am 62. I am working as a labourer in coffee estate and my son is blind. My wife has an ailment.”
He said if the government gives a piece of land before my death it is much useful for my family for livelihood.
When contacted Sakaleshapura Tahasildar Jaya Kumar said that the land identified for Putta Swamy Gowda belongs to forest, and hence we could not sanction it. We have sent the file to Hassan Deputy Commissioner’s for further action long back.”
The farmer is hopeful that the government keeps up its promise at least even after 30 years.