Patna: Reminding once again what a lone determined person can do if he sets out to achieve what he has aimed for, a man in Bihar's Gaya district has dug up a 5-km-long canal in 20 years to bring irrigation water to the fields in his village.
The feat of Loungi Bhuiyan, a resident of Kolithwa village on the border of Imamganj and Bankebazar blocks, makes one recall the toil of 'Mountain Man' Dashrath Manjhi, another native of Bihar who cut a road through a hill near his village in 22 years.
Loungi was pained by the migration of youths from his drought-hit Kolithwa village, which was drought-prone as it did not get to retain sufficient rainwater for irrigation due to its geographical location. The village is around 80 km from Gaya city, surrounded by forest area.
Since there were no job avenues except agriculture, a large number of village's youths migrated to bigger cities in search of livelihood. Bhuiya was unhappy that mostly women and children were left behind in his village.
Village headman Vishnupat Bhokta said: "In August 2001, he decided to dig a canal (Paain in local language) from a natural water source in Bagetha Sahwasi forest to the village. The villagers took their cattle generally to that source for watering, which also provided sustenance to the animals living in the forest area. Loungi knew that the water source was enough to irrigate the agricultural land of the villagers. However, it was a great challenge to bring water into the village."
"Loungi did a survey of the land and earmarked the canal route. After working relentlessly for 20 years, he managed to dig the canal that is four feet wide and three feet deep," Bhokta said.
"Just like Dashrath Manjhi, the villagers called him 'mad' when he went daily to dig the canal with traditional digging equipment," the headman said.
"Keeping in view of his herculean efforts, the district administration also came forward with aid. The administration has now named it Loungi Canal. He also dig up a small pond (Aahar in local language) to store water in the summers for irrigation and domestic consumption."
Dashrath Manjhi cut out a road in the middle of mountain in his native village Gehlaur with just a hammer and chisel in 22 years from 1960 to 1982. Due to his untiring efforts, the distance between Gahlaur and Wazirganj was reduced from 55 km to just 15 km.