Now meet Daitari Nayak, a 75-year-old from Odisha’s Keonjhar district, who has also etched his name in the hearts of people living in his village through sheer hard work and will.
Remember the ‘Mountain Man’ Dashrath Manjhi, a poor labourer who had carved a path 110-m-long, through a hillock using only a hammer and chisel, to shorten the distance between Atri and Wazirganj blocks of Gaya town from 55 km to 15 km. Now meet Daitari Nayak, a 75-year-old from Odisha’s Keonjhar district, who has also etched his name in the hearts of people living in his village through sheer hard work and will. Nayak has carved a 3-km-long canal through Gonasika mountain which helped irrigate 100 acres of lands in his Talabaitarani village.
While Manjhi’s effort took 22 years for the path to come up, Nayak managed to accomplish the task in three years. Necessity is the mother of invention – and this saying applied completely to Nayak’s situation. He started the task of digging the canal after his crops were damaged by erratic trains and thought that he could use water from the stream in Gonasika mountains for his arid land, Hindustan Times reported.
The task was completed by Nayak in 2013 with the help of his brothers and fellow villagers and now the canal is assisting residents growing paddy, mustard and maize, the report says. Nayak’s hard work has also received accolades from various quarters. Keonjhar district collector Ashish Thakre has hailed Nayak’s “determination and grit”.
Earlier this year, another tribal man’s hard work came to the fore in Odisha. Jalandhar Nayak single-handedly moved mountains to construct a 15-kilometre road, connecting his village Gumsahi to the main road in Phulbani town of Kandhamal district. The 45-year-old, who had worked eight hours for two years to build the road, said the problems faced by his three sons in crossing the hillocks to reach school in the town prompted him to take up hammer and chisel.
Interestingly, Nayak and his family are the only residents of the village. Others have left Gumisahi long ago owing to lack of proper road and essential facilities. Armed with a hammer, digging bar and chisel, Nayak, who earns his livelihood by selling vegetables, wanted to make life easier for his sons.