Ladakh is a dry region full of mountains. 79 year old Chewang Norphel a retired civil engineer, born in 1936 created artificial glaciers in with his innovative and remarkable engineering skills to make locals financially independent and meet water needs of the region. When he was posted to Ladakh’s most remote and backward area Zanskar, in 1966, he found it difficult to construct roads, buildings, canals etc with his team due to lack of skilled labor.
He began doing the masonry jobs himself, taught a few people too who later become financially independent as well as perfect masons. His pleasure knew no bounds, as he could change people’s lives. 10 artifcial glaciers were created by this Ice Man of India to tackle water problems in the mountainous and cold Ladakh region. Glaciers and snow melt during summer and instead of allowing this water to waste, he conserved it in the form of artificial glaciers. These glaciers melted before the natural glaciers melted and due to this the villagers were able to get water during the sowing season.
Putting his passion,extensive experience and engineering skills to work, he experimented in a village called Phutse, created canals to divert water, created shady areas to freeze water and in the process made artificial glaciers. With the same dedication, strong determination and availability of adequate funds he desires now to continue this endeavor in future too. With the right intention and simple ideas, man does have the capacity to save nature and water, is one thing Chewang Norphel who has already received acclaim all over the world, feels.
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