CKunhambu, known for his expertise in constructing surangas or horizontal tunnel wells, which are dug in water scarce locations, allegedly committed suicide, police said on Friday.
Kunhambu (72) was found hanging at his residence on January 18 morning, police said.
”As per our preliminary investigation, it is a case of suicide. We have registered a case and the probe is on,” police said.
He is survived by his wife and three children.
Police said Kunhambu was known for his skills to construct horizontal tunnel wells which use gravitational force for the extraction of underground water.
He has constructed nearly one thousand surangas in northern Kasaragod and southern part of Karnataka, V Govindankutty, an assistant professor of Geography at Manjeshwaram’s Govinda Pai Memorial Government College near here, said.
”He has been working in the field of surangas since he was 14 years old. He was one among the few experts who have mastered the art of constructing surangas,” Govindankutty told PTI.
He said Kunhambu had a geological sense than many others.
Govindankutty said in Kasaragod, the presence of laterite hills from coastal areas itself makes it expensive to construct vertical wells.
”Water divining, which is the term for identifying ground water, is a huge task. People use mechanical instruments to do that these days but still it’s difficult. Whereas Kunhambu used to look into the folds of the land or the hill and identify the fracture,” Govindankutty said.
The professor said he had in 2015 taken Kunhambu to Bidar in Karnataka to revive the Qanat underground water system there.
”We are still researching the methods and learning about the practice but Kunhambu gained his expertise through his years-long experience,” Govindankutty said. The horizontal tunnels also known as thurangam in Malayalam are dug by two people with a width which allows a man to work and pass comfortably. The average length of a tunnel is somewhere around 20-25 metres. However, there are tunnels which are over 300 metres long,