MP farmer digs 90-foot-deep well to help village fight drought

  • Milind R Lashkari/ Pramod Carpenter, Hindustan Times, Indore
  • Updated: May 06, 2016 16:08 IST
Bhagwan Singh standing near the well. (HT photo)

A poor farmer single-handedly digs up a well in 20 days on his land in Madhya Pradesh to give his drought-hit village water for irrigation and daily use.

The feat, his fellow villagers are now comparing with that of Dashrath Manjhi who single-handedly hammered a path through a mountain in 22 years to give his fellow villagers a shortcut to better medical facilities.

But, it wasn’t easy for Bhagwan Singh, 38, of Nevari village in Agar district. He owns two bighas (about.8 acres) of farm land on the outskirts of the village. Watching him dig a well, almost everybody thought he had gone crazy after suffering crop losses for two years due to water paucity. However, all his critics have now become his fans after he dug a 90-foot deep well in less than a month (20 days to be precise) and gave 650-odd villagers access to the well.

Father of four (three daughters, one son), Bhagwan, who never went to school due to financial crunch, said, “Somewhere I heard, ‘where there is a will there is a way’ and I strongly believe in this--If Dashrath Manjhi can make a way for his people through a mountain, why not me.” He said he felt like hitting a goldmine by digging a well for people.

But, what made him undertake the feat?

Bhagwan said, “There is no source of water for irrigation in our village, which is about 16 kilometres from Agar. My farm land is useless as I can’t even grow crops there for want of water. Our village has a couple of hand pumps. But, they aren’t enough to fulfil the requirement of 650 villagers.” This gave him the idea to dig a well himself and he began digging about three weeks ago. “Everybody doubted me. But thanks to my wife and children who were always by my side,” he said, adding now others too could dig wells on their pieces of land and combat drought.

His friend Shankar said even those, who laughed at him, were now fetching water from his well.

Village sarpanch Rajendra Singh said Bhagwan’s efforts had drawn the district administration’s attention too, which hopefully would now help villagers fight drought their way.

Agar sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) Milind Dhoke appreciated Bhagwan’s efforts and said he would personally meet him and extend him financial help.

The Agar district administration has allowed farmers to dig well at their farm land.

However, Indore and other big cities have stopped giving fresh permission for digging up bore wells. The restrain shall continue till June 30 there.

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