Our Genesis

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Quest for Water

Manikandan, the founder and coordinator of Kovai Kulangal Pdhukappu Amaippu embarked on his journey for a social cause with a humble start. As a young child, he actively assisted his neighborhood’s elders by drafting petitions addressed to government departments, which dealt with various public issues. This early involvement exposed him to the processes and methods of addressing the public’s needs. 

Years ago, a pivotal moment occurred when he observed a gradual decline in the water level of his family’s well, eventually leading to its complete depletion. Despite his family and others resorting to alternative water sources, this event left a profound impact on his young mind and created many sleepless nights to him. With the quest to address the situation, he began exploring potential causes for the situation, eventually narrowing down to a peculiar cause with trends and evidences. 

Systematically he discovered that a nearby check dam had become dysfunctional due to minor cracks, rendering it incapable of retaining water after the monsoon season. Some of the trends and evidences made him believe strongly that repairing this check dam and restoring its original functionality could replenish the well.

Drawing from his prior experience in drafting petitions, he submitted a formal request to the Public Works Department (PWD) of the Government of Tamil Nadu, urging them to repair the check dam. To his surprise, a dedicated engineer from the PWD arrived at the location within a few days, and the repair work on the check dam was successfully completed in a matter of weeks.

While the restoration of the check dam marked an important milestone, the young boy’s dream of having water in his well still remained unfulfilled. It was only a matter of time before nature responded to his efforts. With the onset of monsoon season in the city, the check dam began to fill with water, eventually leading to the replenishment of the well. Just as Manikandan had believed, the well continued to have a steady supply of water for an extended period.

The mysterious connection between the check dam and the well left Manikandan intrigued and ignited within him a deep appreciation for nature, its hidden secrets, and its benevolence towards humanity. The incident also dawned on him that local issues could be solved through direct contact with Government Officials. Since then, there has been no turning back, and this has been his mantra for success, and he has been a bridge between the local community and the Government, to solve community specific problems.

Commoner with A change making spirit

Due to family circumstances Manikandan left schooling and joined a workshop as an apprentice at a young age, but he had a profound interest in social work. At that time he formed a group which assisted eligible Senior citizens and handicapped persons to apply for and receive government aid, help eligible local applicants for the Government sponsored low cost housing scheme, conduct sports and cultural activities during local festivals, help Government Officials during Population enumeration, Voters list verification drives and also involve in tree planting, blood donation camps, de-silting of storm water drains, collection and distribution of relief materials after the 2004 Tsunami.

A first recognition for their work came when the Government of India sponsored Nehru Yuvak Kendra awarded their group an amount of Rs.10, 000/- for being the most active group in the Coimbatore District. This constant amicable contact with various Government Departments enabled him to obtain Nativity Certificates, Caste Certificates, Driving Licenses, SME Registrations, Sales Tax Registrations etc, without any corruption, for many eligible persons. He was involved in this social service for about 20 years.

Erratic and insufficient rains over a 4-year period in Coimbatore region resulted in the Kurichi Lake near his house, becoming waterless, dusty, parched and dumping ground for the city’s waste. In 2014, local residents and volunteers teamed up and obtained permission from the Government and removed plastic and household waste, invasive shrubs and thorny trees and construction waste from the lake bed. They imposed a fine on dumping of construction material and other waste into the lake bed and regular polluters were made to remove over 100 lorry loads of waste from the lake bed. That very year after the monsoon rains the Kurichi Lake filled to capacity due to their efforts. This lake has filled to its capacity every year after each monsoon, since then.

Coimbatore reeled under severe water shortage in 2017 and the realization dawned on a small committed group of 14 citizens, that the solution to Coimbatore’s water woes lay in cleaning and de-silting its lakes, ponds, water sources, canals, anaicuts, check dams and thus Kovai Kulangal Pathugappu Amaippu (KKPA), was formed on 5th Februray 2017, with Manikandan as its Coordinator. They resolved to contribute their voluntary labour every Sunday for 3-4 hours on projects to revive, recover, rejuvenate and reclaim the water bodies in and around Coimbatore.

It was observed that wherever people’s involvement in the maintenance and protection of lakes was minimal and lacking, the lakes went dry due to negligence. Also, areas where the lakes were safeguarded and sustained by a strong local community, the lakes flourished. Hence it was decided by this small group to concentrate on lakes that were neglected, revive these lakes, and establish a bond between the local populace and water body in order to ensure future maintenance and protection.

Since then, Kovai Kulangal Padhukappu Amaippu (KKPA) has undertaken various projects over the past years by collaborating with dedicated volunteers, the support of well-wishers and partnerships with other organizations and corporates.