Home » Exam preparation » IAS - PCS » Why IAS officer Anurag Tewari was known as ‘waterman’ in Karnataka’s Bidar district

Why IAS officer Anurag Tewari was known as ‘waterman’ in Karnataka’s Bidar district

Even as Karnataka is reeling under drought for the fourth consecutive year, the district of Bidar is no longer parched. But until last year, the district — which comes under Hyderabad-Karnataka region of the state and shares its border with Maharashtra and Telangana — was facing severe water crisis. There was acute shortage of drinking water while farmers were left with no water for irrigation and fodder for their cattle.

All that has changed now, thanks to the efforts of one man — Anurag Tewari, former district collector of Bidar.

Sadly, on May 16, the 36-year-old Karnataka-cadre IAS officer was found dead by the roadside in Lucknow. While the government of Uttar Pradesh has initiated an inquiry, the people of Bidar still remember him as the one who put an end to their years of miseries. Tewari was appointed as the district collector of Bidar in June 2015 and was transferred in December 2016.

He took charge of Bidar at a time when the district was facing its worst spell of droughts. With no water for drinking or irrigation, many farmers were forced to commit suicide while several others migrated from the district.

But Tewari, within a period of 18 months, did the unexpected and earned the sobriquet of the waterman.

The engineer-turned-IAS officer understood the problem quickly and identified the uniqueness of the ancient district. Bidar, which was ruled by several kingdoms, has Surang Bwavi or karez (aqueduct). The 3.1km-long water tunnel was built by the Behamani kings to provide water for people. But over the years, it was covered with mud and had almost vanished.

Tewari kick-started the revival of the centuries-old underground aqueduct, apart from cleaning and dredging of over 130 tanks/ponds and 110 open wells across the district.


Apart from water rejuvenation, Tewari, the people of Bidar say, was also keen to bring the ancient and historic city of Bidar on world map.

As many as 200 labourers and 20 locally made crane were pressed in to the tunnel which is in the shape of the English alphabet “Y”. Following that, over 3,000 metric tonnes of garbage was removed in just a few months. During the next spell of rains, which exceeded the average rainfall rate by 40 per cent, bought miracle to Bidar as the traditional water bodies were filled with water.

As the news of Tewari’s success reached the capital city — Bangalore — the Karnataka government too launched “Kere Sanjeevini” (cleaning tanks) schemes across the state.

Apart from water rejuvenation, Tewari, the people of Bidar say, was also keen to bring the ancient and historic city of Bidar on world map. He assisted in developing tourist circuits in the Hyderabad-Karnataka region and to equip the Bidar Fort with audio-visual guides besides other tourism-related activities. He even started whatsApp-based redressal of grievances system for the common man.

Speaking to India Today, Santosh Mangonda, who served as the official driver to Tewari, says, “He was a workaholic and never behaved like a boss or an IAS officer. He used to work till late into the night in office and was known for his honesty. It’s hard to believe that an young and fearless officer can die in such a way. A proper inquiry can only reveal the fact.”

Tewari was a follower of Vivekananda and wanted to become “yogi”. It was his spiritual interest that had brought him to the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Ashrama at Shivanagar in Bidar. The swami of the ashram became one of the closest persons with whom Tewari, during his stint in Bidar, spent time after office.

“He was a full-time officer. When I say that I mean to say he used to work 24×7. Several students from our ashram wanted to become an IAS officer like him. He was into yoga and spiritual reading and wanted to become a yogi. He even took up a 10-day-long Vipassana course in Pune, Maharastra, recently before being transferred out of here,” says the swami.

Rishikesh Bahadur Desai, a senior journalist, was also among those whom Tewari use to meet almost on a regular basis during his tenure in Bidar. Desai was the first journalist to report about the water rejuvenation work carried out by the young IAS officer and how it has changed the fate of the district.

Speaking to India Today, Rishikesh recalls, ”He came at a time when district was at the end of a four-year-long drought. He took up a very important task which not only changed the economy of the district, but also now known across the country for adaptive reuse of traditional water system. The rejuvenation of underground aqueducts was a game changer. The rejuvenation project was studied seven years ago, but the final project was started and completed by Tewari. He took up the project just after taking charge of bidar and realised that it can not only solve the water crisis, but also could be developed as a tourist spot. When the project was completed and during the first rains, water started flowing into the tunnel. He was the happiest man on earth that day.”

Shanmukh D Kas, ADC Bidar, who worked closely with Tewari, still can’t believe that the young IAS officer is no more. “His death certainly is a loss for the government of Karnataka. We lost a young mind that had several unique ideas for the welfare of the people.”

[Source:- dailyo]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *