Keonjhar: All in the country got to know of 70-year-old Daitari Nayak after he was honoured with Padmashri.
The NDA government recognized his feat– he had single handedly dug out a canal in a hilly terrain and successfully managed to irrigate his farmlands and others in Gonasika panchayat under Bansapal block in Keonjhar.
While his native district is swept with joy, he is now flooded with loads of praise and accolades from various quarters.
His village Uparabaitarani sees footfalls of leaders while cricketer VVS Laxman was all praise for him in his Twitter posting.
But what worries him is the miserable state of irrigation in most parts of his district.
“I will be happy if more areas get irrigation coverage,” Daitari added.
Daitari and his family were on cloud nine when they got the news. He thanked the government for giving a common man like him such a much-sought after honour.
“However, irrigation facility still needs to be strengthened in his village and neighbouring villages. If that is done, I will be happier,” he noted.
Years ago, his farmland was far away from a hill stream. He was unable to harness the flowing stream water. He took a resolve to bring water to his farmland. He started digging a canal from there, but no villagers extended him help. Still he was not to be discouraged.
When he managed to bring water on the outskirts of the village, local residents were amazed, he recalled.
But his family members helped him and his feat came to lime light in 2018 following media reports. Thereafter, he was honoured by several organisations and quarters.
“Agriculture is our livelihood. For want of water, we are unable to go in for farming,” he said.
Environmentalist and local Vaidyaraj Harekrushna Mohant, said, “There are many tribal villages in the hilly region where people are keen to do agriculture, but irrigation is a major constraint. People will develop if agriculture is developed. Daitari’s outstanding effort will set an example for others. The government needs to pay special attention to the irrigation facility in the district.”