The Prime Minister had mentioned Kame Gowda’s feats during his radio speech on June 28.

Ktaka environmentalist Kame Gowda faces opposition in home turf after Mann ki Baat fameFile image
news Controversy Thursday, July 16, 2020 - 19:18

Just weeks into his fame after being featured in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Mann Ki Baat radio programme, Kame Gowda, a 84-year-old shepherd from Mandya’s Mavali taluk is facing hostility in his own village. He had previously won the Rajyotsava award in 2018.

His claim to fame as a ‘water warrior’ comes from his afforestation efforts of an entire hillside and also reviving 16 ponds single-handedly over four decades. The Prime Minister had mentioned him during his radio speech on June 28.

However, his neighbours have now alleged that Kame Gowda is blocking access to a grazing field following his new found popularity. They have approached the local police and the district administration to air their grievance. 

Kame Gowda’s neighbours have alleged that the claim that he revived 16 ponds is false. 

A group of 70 residents of his village and surrounding areas have petitioned the Deputy Commissioner to probe his claim to fame and urged him to take back his honours. The group also levelled allegations of sand mining against him from these ponds.

Speaking to reporters, Deputy Commissioner MV Venkatesh acknowledged the issue and said that there is a disagreement between Kame Gowda and other residents of the Dasandoddi village. He said, “Kame Gowda has done excellent work and the Forest Department and several organisations have hailed his work and awarded him. Even PM Modi hailed his social development work in Mann ki Baat.”

He added, “This is an issue of misunderstanding and our officials are sorting it out. Otherwise, residents of the area are proud of Kame Gowda and our officials have formed a team to resolve all the issues.”

It may be recalled that the state government-run Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation earlier this month awarded a lifetime free bus pass to him as ordered by Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa.  

This development came after an interview with a national daily when Kame Gowda had said that while such a pass was promised by ex-CM HD Kumaraswamy during the Rajyotsava Awards, the same did not materialise.