Nand Kishore Mahto in front of his dam in Giridih. Picture by Tausheen Rubbani
Hazaribagh, Aug. 28: Determination and perseverance of one man have brought cheers to over 2,000 people at Poraiya village in the foothills of Parasnath.
Nand Kishore Mahto (33), a matriculate, built a check dam all alone to store water from a rivulet flowing down the Parasnath Hills. Thanks to his resolve, the villagers managed to sow paddy in more than 200 acres of land this season — a first in the past few decades.
Lack of irrigation facilities has been a perennial problem in Poraiya village of Dumri block, around 70km from Giridih district headquarters, where agriculture is the main source of living.
An all-season rivulet, locally known as Bandarchunwa Nala, has been flowing down the Parasnath into the village for ages, but in the absence of a check dam, its water was of no use.
“My father, Nirmal Mahto, told me a small check dam could end the decade-old water crisis. But, when I went to the villagers with the idea, none came forward to help. Finally, I decided to move ahead with my plan,” said Nand.
Unperturbed by lack of co-operation and even harsh comments from fellow farmers, he began his work in the first week of May. His relentless toil for the entire month turned his father’s vision into a reality.
Nand single-handedly built a check dam on a 1-acre plot with rocks and mud and managed to store the rivulet’s water. To take the water to the fields, he constructed a 100ft-long canal, which is 1.5ft wide and 3ft deep.
And now, the entire village is reaping the benefits of his efforts. “My dam has stored enough water for the villagers to cultivate paddy, without caring for the monsoon or any government help,” he added.
Kali Turi, a local resident, said they were feeling bad now that they did not support Nand in his endeavour. “Usne jo kar dikhaya, uske bare mei hamne kabhi socha tak nahi tha (We could never have imagined what he could accomplish on his own),” he added.
Saryu Mahto thanked Nand for whom they could expect a good harvest this season.
Dumri BDO Kundan Kumar said though he was not aware of the dam, he would definitely visit the place to see it, adding the administration was ready to help village committees if they came forward with similar plans.
“We can provide funds under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme for construction of kachcha dams,” he said.