Odisha man living in rented house donates 2.3 acres to poor
Muguda Suryanarayan Achary’s family of 15, including his sons, daughters-in-law, grandchildren and parents, struggle for space in a rented house.
But for the last two years, the 60-year-old from Jeypore town of Odisha’s Koraput district has been doing what only a few can do.
Achary has donated over 2.3 acres of his own land to 250 landless people in Jeypore even as he slogs hard in his door and window fabrication workshop to make both ends meet.
And, on Sunday he finished distributing the last of the land documents to about 10 people, who received 360 square feet of land each.
“Today I feel very happy as I kept the commitment I made to myself 20 years ago. I may not have my own house now, but I can die happily that several landless poor people can have some land of their own,” Achary said over the phone from Jeypore.
Achary built a temple for Veerabhadra, a form of the Hindu god Shiva, near his house in 1997 when he was doing well. The priest of the temple advised him that he would be blessed by God if he donated land so he bought 2.3 acres for Rs 2 lakh to donate it to the poor.
He fell on bad times and had to sell off his house and move to a rented home soon after, but never wavered on his commitment to donating land to the landless.
Two years ago, he applied to the government for land on a 99-year lease so that he could set up a new workshop. That application is still pending, but Achary did not set up his workshop on the land meant for the poor.
“That land was meant for homeless people and I decided to keep it that way,” Achary, who has to pay Rs 15,000 every month as rent for his workshop and home, said.
He has donated small patches of land to labourers, widows and destitute in his area with documents in their name in the last 10 years.
“I grew up listening to the Ramayana, Mahabharat, Bhagabat and Puranas since childhood. I did not do anything. It was God’s wish that the poor get the land,” said Achary.
Achary’s wife Ravanamma said she is not unhappy with her husband’s decision.
The people who have benefitted from Achary’s philanthropy said they can never forget him till their last breath.
“I had nothing till he gave me a plot of land. For me he is God,” K Rajeswari, a widow, said.
Daily-wage labourer M Balaji, who is also a beneficiary of Achary’s benevolence, said he would never have been able to buy land in his life if he had not been given a plot a few years ago.
Achary’s childhood friend Sudhir Sarangi, an advocate, said it was remarkable that he kept his commitment.
“There were several real estate people who offered him Rs 3-Rs 4 crore for that patch of land. He would always say no. It’s difficult to find people like him who do good work and don’t beat their drums,” he said.