Keshava A., 41, is popular as ‘ladder man’ in rural areas of Dakshina Kannada district. Lightweight foldable aluminium ladders designed by him help even women and children climb the tall areca palms or harvest pepper from climbers on tall trees. Not many know that he is visually challenged.
Mr. Keshava was the star attraction for scientists from different parts of the country at the Agricultural Science Congress in Karnataka, where he has set up a stall.
“I dropped out of college while doing PU as my vision was affected owing to glaucoma. Now, 90 per cent of my vision is affected and I cannot see anything clearly even if it is very near to me,” said Mr. Keshava.
The vision problem, however, did not come in his way of pursuing his dream of helping farmers climb tall areca palms. “As a person from the farming family, I was witness to the problems of farmers because of lack of skilled labourers who can climb areca trees. Hence I designed a lightweight ladder which can not only stretch for 40 to 50 feet, but also have a firm grip on the ground,” he said. He has so far sold over one lakh ladders.