Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday praised Amai Mahalinga Naik from Bantwal taluk, who is also known as the ‘Tunnel man’ in the 85th edition of ‘Mann Ki Baat’ programme.
Naik who is a farmer was chosen for Padma Shri award this year.
PM Modi said, “He has made such innovations in agriculture, seeing which anyone could be surprised. Small farmers are getting huge benefit from his efforts. There are many more such unsung heroes who have been honoured by the country for their contribution. You must try to know about them. We will get to learn a lot from them in life”.
Naik’s efforts to irrigate his areca nut fields on his farm atop a rocky hill earned him the monicker “Tunnel Man”.
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It was Naik dream to grow an areca nut grove but faced the challenge of watering barren hilly tract of land he owned. With little money he had saved, he could not hope to hire workers for digging. He chose to dig up a tunnel himself, guided all by instinct.
Today Mahalinga Naik reaps bountiful crops such as areca nut, coconut, banana, cocoa, pepper, etc. grown on his farm. He also raises cattle and honeybees on the side.