55-year-old Jagdish Chandra Kudiyal from Sirkot village in Uttarakhand's Bageshwar district has defied all odds to revive a dead spring that, now, is the only source of drinking water to as many as 400 homes in a number of villages and is useful for irrigation purposes.
Kudiyal is a farmer and owns a grocery shop as well. Twenty years ago, he decided to plant saplings around the water spring that had dried up. The idea struck him when the villagers were facing an acute water shortage. He began plantation drive after being inspired by the Chipko Movement where people took to protest against deforestation since it was leading to soil erosion and depletion of natural resources. He knew that trees help in recharging groundwater and thus although time-taking, it would yield the desired results.
Speaking about the challenges faced initially, Kudiyal told The Times of India, "Villagers used to send their animals to graze on small plants. They sometimes used to destroy them for fun. But, I had already decided that I was there to bring life to it."
"I hired labourers to work in my tea fields and this is how I also got people to guard my saplings. And we managed to turn them into trees. We then dug deep pits, after every two to three metres that used to get filled up with rainwater. Finally, the hard work and patience of 20 years paid off when the spring came to life," he added.
On seeing the results, the villagers also joined the Kudiyal's water conservation efforts. He also found a mention in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's monthly radio programme 'Mann Ki Baat'.
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