Anurag Tewari: The man who quenched Bidar’s thirst

Rishikesh Bahadur Desai || THEHINDU : Anurag Tewari , the 36-year-old IAS officer who was found dead near a guest house in Lucknow on Wednesday, had earned the goodwill of the people in his short stint of 18 months in Bidar. He will be remembered in the district for a long time for two important projects. He began the process of rejuvenation of Karez or Surang Bavi, the medieval era underground aqueduct and ensured it got the fame it deserved.

Tewari’s pro-people instinct came to the fore in the summer of 2016, when the district was faced with the worst drought in decades. He also began and completed in a few months the process of cleaning and dredging of over 130 tanks and 110 open wells across the district. This helped the district immensely as it received 40% more than the average rainfall and all traditional water bodies were filled.

Jahaj ki Bawdi

The 500-year-old Jahaj ki Bawdi — that had dried up — is now supplying drinking water to several households in the old city. Workers removed nearly 80 ft of garbage from the well. The well on Chidri Road, that was full of garbage, became the source of sweet water from which dozens of tankers draw water now.

The added advantage of this was that farmers in the neighbourhood were allowed to take the top soil and spread it on their fields. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah spoke to some of the beneficiaries and was pleased with the progress of dredging work in Aurad. In a way, Tewari’s efforts inspired the government scheme of cleaning of tanks — Kere Sanjivini.

Tourism potential

Tewari tried to harness the tourism potential of Bidar by drawing up plans for development of a tourist circuit in the Hyderabad–Karnataka region, better equipping places of pilgrimage, and creating audio visual guides for Bidar Fort. Some of these are incomplete.

He initiated other reforms such as the complete computerisation of all urban local bodies and district magistrate court. Those who knew him say he was a friendly officer. They are shocked. “It is hard to believe that he is no more. It feels as if we have lost a family member,” says Vinay Malge, convener of Team Yuvaa, the NGO that worked with him on the cleaning up of tanks and Surang Bavi.

The electrical engineer from the 2007 IAS batch had served as DC Kodagu and AC Madhugiri. He was recently posted as Commissioner, Food and Civil Supplies.

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