Padma Award for the Man Who Made Barren Land Fertile | Mangaluru News

Mangaluru: Amai Mahalinga Naik (pictured), an illiterate but skilled laborer, credited with converting a barren piece of land into a full-fledged farm in the village of Kepu, near Adyanadka, about 50 km from Mangaluru , was shortlisted for India’s fourth-highest civilian honour, the Padma Shri, for his contribution to agriculture.
Contacted as soon as the award list was released on Tuesday, Naik, around 70, had no idea of ​​his selection for the award, but said he was happy to have been selected for it. He remembered Mahabala Bhat, who gave him the arid summit in the 70s.
Known as the “Suranga” man, he was first recognized by the Varanashi Development and Research Foundation, Adyanadka.
Shree Padre, agriculture expert and editor of “Adike Patrike”, an agricultural magazine, said he was a classic case of optimism and determination. “He developed a sustainable, living resource from scratch. Today it has a good garden, water resource and sustainable man-made agriculture. To me, it’s a one-man army on a hill. Without his optimism and determination, the greenery could not have been developed. When he was digging suranga after failed suranga, people ridiculed him,” said Shree Padre, who has been following Naik’s work for several years.
Surangas are tunnels that go deep into the hard laterite rocks, to reach underground waters, through which water flows continuously in a small stream, without the use of a pump. Naik has further improvised the traditional surangas, creating a small tank.
“It was after the fifth or sixth attempt that he got water. If someone measures his work in terms of man-days, his little garden, planting areca, paving and terracing would amount to a few thousand man-days. His hard work serves as a role model for everyone. He has no ill will or negative things to say about others. He was a coconut picker who fell from a tree and had to spend a lot of money to get treatment at the hospital. His owner gave him land allocated by the government. The land around his plot is barren. Only dry grass grows there. Nobody imagined that a single man could turn a barren hill into a green space,” said Shree Padre.
Over the years, his accomplishments have captured national and international media attention. He cultivated 300 arcane palms, coconut trees, banana trees, pepper trees and cocoa trees on his land.

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