Extraordinary People

Now THAT’S dedication! Man digs canal so his village can access water ­– and it takes 30 years

The canal will not only help residents, but also animals and the local wildlife

In what seems to be a real-life tale of The Shawshank Redemption (spoiler alert!), a man has dug his way to freedom.

While in the film, it took Andy Defresne 19 years to tunnel out of prison, it took Laungi Bhuiya 30 years to tunnel into water.

The Indian native took it upon himself to dig a canal so that his village could access water, however, as the challenge took him so long he was often labelled ‘mad’ for endlessly trying.

Yet those jeers soon turned to cheers as Laungi succeeded in carving out a 3km-long canal which directs rainwater from the hills nearby to the fields within his village, with the water then tunnelling towards a local pond to avoid flooding.

Laungi is now considered a hero of the Gaya district, in the eastern state of Bihar, which has previously been prone to severe droughts.

Speaking about his endeavours, Laungi said he had been inspired by the legendary Dashrath Manjh, nicknamed ‘Mountain Man’, after he spent 22 years from 1960 to 1982 carving a road through the mountain of a nearby village with just a hammer and chisel to dig a canal to the closest water source in the Bangetha Hills.

Laungi, 70, explained to a local media outlet: “I had heard about him and I thought if he can do it, why can’t I? They all thought I was mad.

“It took me 30 years to dig this canal which takes the water to a pond in the village.”

He continued: “For the last 30 years, I would go to the nearby jungle to tend my cattle and dig out the canal. No one joined me in this endeavour… Villagers are going to cities to earn a livelihood, but I decided to stay back.”

Not only will residents now benefit from Laungi’s efforts, but also the wildlife and local environment too as the animals will be able to drink and the water will irrigate the fields.

The epic 4ft wide by 3ft deep canal earned Lungi so much respect that he was rewarded for his efforts with a new Mahindra tractor from India’s leading farm equipment manufacturer.

Though if you think Laungi is ready to put his feet up, think again.

He now plans to use his tractor to continue work on his quest and expand the canal.

What an absolute hero.


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