ibnlive » India

Mar 27, 2012 at 03:49pm IST

Real Heroes impact: Ladakh's 'glacier man' to construct reservoirs

Ladakh: It is just the beginning of harsh winters in Ladakh. Come December and mercury dips to a chilling -15 degrees here. But for 78-year-old Chewang Norphel, temperature is just a number as he literally skips to the top of a very rocky mountain near the Numb village.

The former civil engineer, fondly called the "ice man", became CNN-IBN's Real Hero in 2008 for building more than seven artificial glaciers that resulted in irrigating more than 20,000 acres of land and benefiting 75 per cent of Leh's population.

After glaciers, he is now working on a reservoir.

CNN-IBN visited a tiny village called Kharu almost 30 km away from Leh to visit Norphel's next big project - the construction of a reservoir - a simple and cost effective technique in which he refreezes the glacial melted water that would melt in summers and thus generate gallons of water.

After impacting many lives, the "ice man" reveals his retirement plans. "I'm old now. I can't visit these places. I will hand over this technique to farmers and the people of Leh and as for me and my wife, we would like to sit for prayers."

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