Was a symbol of people power

A farmer leader who entered politics and rose to become Union deputy minister after defeating Ramakrishna Hegde.

Published: 29th May 2018 05:12 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th May 2018 05:12 AM   |  A+A-

Legislator Siddu Nyamagouda (fourth from left) with his family members | Express

Express News Service

BAGALKOT: Jamkahandi MLA Siddu B Nyamagouda - popularly known as the ‘Barrage Hero’ was killed in a road mishap in the wee hours on Monday at Tulasigeri of Bagalkot. A farmer’s leader who entered politics and rose to become a union deputy minister after defeating Ramakrishna Hegde from Bagalkot Lok Sabha seat in 1991 - had in fact, disappeared from the state political scene till he re-appeared in 2013 and 18 to emerge victorious in the assembly elections.

The accident happened when the 70-year-old legislator was returning from Goa in a four-wheeler. The speeding vehicle reportedly lost control when its front left tyre  burst and then rammed into a roadside small water pool. The impact was so severe that Siddu Nyamgouda who was sleeping in the front seat - suffered severe injuries and died on the spot.

People especially farmers from Bagalkot and elsewhere expressed their immense shock hearing the death  of their leader. It was in the late 1980s that Siddu Nyamgouda, a very shy and humble person, slowly emerged as a leader of farmers - advocating building of small dams in the dry regions of the state. He managed to unite the farming community in the surrounding villages of Jamkhandi and told the farmers that self help and not depending on the government for their water needs would go a long way in solving their perpetual problems of water scarcity.

Putting all his efforts, time, money and collecting funds from one and all, he built the nation’s first farmer-funded Chikkapadasalgi barrage at an estimated cost of Rs 50 lakhs. In the days to come, the barrage further boosted 27 village farmers to take-up such irrigation activities without depending on the rains in the summer. In 1985, when he approached the then Chief Minister Ramakrishna Hegde regarding the construction of Chikkapadasalgi water reservoir, the CM reportedly told  Siddu Nyamagouda to collect at least Rs 5 lakh.

Taking this as a challenge, Siddu went on to establish the Krishna Teerada Raitha Sangha (Krishna Bank Farmers Association) and collected Rs 500 from each farmer from 30 villages in his belt. some farmers even pledged their land to give money and others sold whatever they had to pitch in their bit. Within a week he was able to meet the target. Later, he met the CM to inform him the details of his farmer’s association and his successful fund collection. In the aftermath of this, the then Belagavi Zilla Parishat President Amarsimha Patil passed a bill for the construction of this mini-barrage, releasing Rs 5 lakh. Further, the Central Government under its ‘Kaparta’ scheme sanctioned Rs 28 lakh as grants.

In 1988, Siddu Nyamagouda assisted by many others successfully built the Chikkapadasalgi barrage and this victory made him a farmer’s leader in Bagalkot and so was nicknamed as ‘Barrage Hero’. Interestingly, in the 1991 Lok Sabha elections, Ramakrishna Hegde filed nominations from Bagalkot. And Congress party which was in search of an eminent candidate against the former Chief Minister zeroed on to Siddu Nyamagouda who had already gained a lot of popularity as a farmer’s leader in this region. A political novice, Siddu defeated Ramakrishna Hegde with a margin of more than 22,000 votes

Siddu Nyamgouda born on August 5 in 1949 at Jamkhnadi
He was nicknamed as Barrage Hero, as he played a key role in the construction of Chikkapadasalgi barrage
He bagged victory in his very first Lok Sabha elections against former Chief Minister Ramakrishna Hegde in 1991
He was the Coal Minister in the cabinet of PV Narasimha Rao in 1991
He also served as a Member of Legislative Council for one term
For the first time he got elected to the state assembly in 2013
To help and boost sugarcane growers, established the Jamkhnadi Sugar Factory

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