SOURCE: E-BOOK ON SUCCESS STORIES RELEASED BY THE PRIME MINISTER ON CIVIL SERVICES DAY 2017
How did Thota Ranganna (‘Orchard’ Ranganna) become Chepala Ranganna (‘Fish’ Ranganna)?
That’s an interesting story revolving around the Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP). Ranganna is a small Scheduled Caste farmer, living in Nagarur village, Kurnool District, Andhra Pradesh. His 5-acre land was uncultivable, and due to financial constraints and frequent droughts, he had left it barren.
In 2013, Ranganna participated in an IWMP session and learnt about pond excavation. He approached the officials proposing to dig a pond on his land. The District Collector sanctioned the same and Ranganna started the digging work. The farm pond began to fill up with rain water in May/June and land development activities, i.e., clearing of bushes, land levelling and deep ploughing were taken up under MGNREGS.
His family members also started working as wage labourers under MGNREGS in his field. Ranganna soon started cultivation in a 3-acre stretch of his land. But once the pond filled up, an idea struck him: why not rear fish in it?
With the help of IWMP field officials, he obtained fingerlings from the Fisheries Department and released them into the pond. In four months, he earned Rs. 30,000 by selling fish from his own pond! His extraordinary success in fish rearing led to a name change – he became ‘Chepala Ranganna’ from ‘Thota Ranganna’. ‘Chepa’ is fish in Telugu.
Now Ranganna also grows chillies and onions on his land, but his first love is his farm pond and the fish which brought him the much- needed luck. “PMKSY has changed my name and my life. We are no longer poor; we have enough to eat. Most importantly, my sons can go to school now,” he beams.