This is a classic example of how the best intention of the chief minister to preserve the environment is being flouted by some officials.
At the age of 31, Nimal Raghavan made a life-altering decision. He left behind a lucrative tech job in Dubai to embark on a mission of compassion and restoration. It all began in the aftermath of Cyclone Gaja, a devastating natural disaster that struck Tamil Nadu’s coastal areas on November 16, 2018, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake.
Cyclone Gaja had unleashed its fury, causing homes to crumble, trees to uproot, water sources to become contaminated, and infrastructure to be razed. For Nimal, this calamity hit close to home, as his own agrarian family suffered significant losses due to the cyclone’s devastation.
The cyclone’s aftermath posed a dire challenge for the affected farmers, who found their livelihoods hanging by a thread. Their only recourse was to return to water-intensive paddy cultivation. However, they were met with a grim reality—there was insufficient water for farming.
Nimal recognized that the root of this water scarcity problem lay in the neglect of ponds, lakes, and rivers over the years. These vital water bodies had lost their underground connections to the main water source and had fallen prey to encroachments.
In the face of this crisis, Nimal Raghavan saw a solution in the revival and conservation of these water bodies. These bodies not only served as sources of irrigation but also provided water for cattle and played a pivotal role in replenishing the region’s water table.
To provide immediate relief to the cyclone-affected people, Nimal launched the #BounceBackDelta social media campaign. Through this initiative, he raised funds to provide food, groceries, clothing, and essential items to those in need.
However, Nimal’s vision extended beyond immediate relief. He aimed to breathe new life into the dying water bodies, enabling farmers to return to their fields and communities to access clean drinking water.
What did Nimal Raghavan do?
His journey began with the Peravurani lake, sprawling across 564 acres. Nimal rallied around 70 volunteers to desilt and restore the lake, which had tragically become a dumping ground for garbage. Through the collective efforts of the community, around Rs 27 lakh was raised, equipment was sponsored, and the lake’s transformation began.
Four islands were created within the lake, native trees were planted to revive local biodiversity, and the lake’s boundaries were fortified. These efforts resulted in a dramatic rise in the water level—from a meager 40 feet to an impressive 350 feet. As a result, farmers could resume cultivation, and the lake now sustains the irrigation of 6,000 acres of farmland.
Since November 2019, Nimal has extended his mission far and wide, restoring 140 lakes, ponds, and rivers across Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, and even Haryana. His incredible work has not only revitalized water bodies but also rekindled hope and prosperity in countless lives. Nimal’s dedication and unwavering commitment serve as an inspiring testament to the power of individual action in the face of adversity.