How many people does it take to turn a rocky and parched hill, spread over a few kilometres, into a lush green paradise that birds find irresistible? The answer is one. And this man from Srirangapatna (Karnataka, South India) has proved it. It took Ramesh Y five years of back-breaking toil, but his efforts have borne much fruit. Ramesh is a 40-year-old graduate who abandoned law studies to take up small works to support his family. Eventually, he became a supplier of mineral water in Srirangapatna and nearby areas. He was a regular at the Venkataramanaswamy temple, nestled in Karighatta hills.
But every time, Ramesh went up the hill, it bothered him to find its scanty vegetation withering away in the heat. One day, he decided to do something about it. “I could see a few plants around, but they obviously weren’t tended to. I built small bunds around each and watered them. It was quite a task, which I soon realised was also in vain. This wasn’t going to work. It was too hot and the water would seep in too fast,” Ramesh told.
Someone told him that drip irrigation was the best way to save the trees. But with his limited income, there was no way he could afford to lay pipelines around Karighatta, spread across 5-8 sq km. One day, when he was trying to junk an expired water can, an idea struck. “Why not use this for drip irrigation? I had plenty of such cans at my disposal. Using them would be cost-effective and would easily serve the purpose,” said Ramesh. The only investment would be the wires, and of course, his time.
Once he learnt the technique, he went on to select the plants and tie the modified mineral water cans around them. He would cut off the bottom half of these cans and suspend them upside down, letting the water dribble out of the mouth. He ensured that the drops fell onto the roots. In a few days, it was clear that the plan was working. The greenery had started spreading. The orange of the parched land was changing into a luscious green.
“Once filled up, the cans could hold water at least for two to three days. This made my job easy and I extended the project to many more trees so that I could alternately water them,” said Ramesh. The blooming landscape not only pleased him, but also the birds in the area. The availability of water was a big draw for the winged visitors. But he saw how they struggled to take a sip while precariously balancing on the edge of the can. And when the water level dropped, it became an impossible feat altogether.
Being the problem-solver that he is, Ramesh came out with another indigenous idea — he placed a stick inside the cans. Now the birds not only had a better grip, but could also reach the water regardless of its level. Ramesh is also actively engaged in planting new saplings. “I go to the market once in a while to buy seeds for neem, jack fruit, tamarind, millettia pinnata and others. Not every seed sprouts, even my limited success over the course of time will bear fruit. My dream is to see this area converted into a dense forest. It will definitely help in increasing rainfall in this area,” says Ramesh.
How to reach
Srirangapatna is located on an island in the state of Karnataka. It does not have an airport but it connected with Mysore by road. It is easily accessible from major cities of Karnataka like Bangalore or Bengaluru and Mysore. Here is how to reach is Srirangapatna.
The nearest airport is at Mysore about 14 km away. There are taxi facilities available from the airport to reach Srirangapatna. Bengaluru is the nearest international airport which is about 145 km away. There are regular flights to and from Bengaluru from most major cities in India. Taxis and buses are available from the airport to reach Srirangapatna.
The nearest railhead is Mysore which is well connected to Bengaluru, 140 km away. Bengaluru is well connected to most major cities in India. Taxi services are available from Bengaluru to Srirangapatna.
There is a good network of regular buses from Kempegowda Bus Stand in Bengaluru and Central Bus Stand in Mysore to reach Srirangapatna.