Meet 84-year-old Karnataka’s ‘Lake man,’ who was recently recognised by PM Narendra Modi

Kaamegowda has helped dug 16 ponds single-handedly in his village Daasanadoddi in Mandya, for which he was recognised by PM Modi in his ‘Mann ki Baat’ programme.

While various parts of India are suffering from depleting potable groundwater, an 84-year-old man from Karnataka has dug 16 ponds single-handedly to solve the drinking water issue in the region.

Kaamegowda hails from the Daasanadoddi village in Mandya, Karnataka, a hamlet, which has not faced a water crisis in the last four decades.

Kaamegowda (Image: TNIE)

Renowned as Karnataka’s ‘Lake man,’ Kammegowda was recently recognised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who mentioned him in his ‘Mann ki Baat’ radio programme.

“Kaamegowda Ji is an ordinary farmer, albeit possessing an extraordinary personality. He has achieved a personal feat that will leave anyone awestruck,” the PM said during the show.

Kaamegowda, who least expects awards or rewards, told The New Indian Express that he was very happy about PM mentioning him on the show.

“Someone in Delhi recognised the work of a person from Daasanadoddi. It looks like Modi too, is fond of ponds just like me,” he exclaimed. 

In 2018, while being felicitated with the Rajyotsava Award, he humbly requested the then Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy for a free bus pass to travel to other places from his remote village with ease.

About two weeks ago, his wish came true when the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation presented him with a free lifetime bus pass.

Saving a village from water crisis

Forty years ago, Daasanadoddi suffered from acute water scarcity. The village received little to no precipitation throughout the year, and most of the rainwater either evaporated while running down the slopes or percolated into the ground.

However, for Kaamegowda, the reasons were albeit slightly different. His daughter-in-law earlier told The Better India, “While grazing his sheep along the hillside, he spotted that there was no watering hole for the animals and birds. Upon closer inspection, he noticed how the animals suffered. So, he started digging a pond for them.”

Kaamegowda emptied his savings to procure new equipment, sold his sheep, and postponed building his own house to sustain the expenses of digging the pond. In fact, he still visits each of these ponds every single day.

The Good Shephard

Inspired by Kaamegowda’s efforts, Kannada film director Dayal Padmanabhan is coming up with a documentary titled, ‘The Good Shephard.’ The movie will be available in both Kannada and English languages on OTT platforms.

“I am planning to have a documentary released on various streaming platforms. I will also prepare to send it to national and international documentary festivals. I intend to have his achievements reach worldwide,” Dayal told The New Indian Express.

Apart from helping out with the water crisis, Kaamegowda has also put in a lot of efforts to maintain the green cover of the region by planting trees and shrubs from time to time.

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Edited by Suman Singh