Leh engineer who inspired ‘3 Idiots’ movie bags global award


New Delhi, Nov 16: Everyone would remember having a awe-struck by Aamir Khan’s blockbuster ‘3 Idiots’, now the leh engineer Sonam Wangchuk has gained further global recognition bagging the reputable Rolex Awards for Enterprise 2016 inspired by the Aamir Khan’s “Phunsukh Wangdu” character in the film.

The awards were presented in Los Angeles to those “who have mold the world with their innovative thinking”. Sonam’s “Ice Stupas” project is among the five winners this year at the awards.

A 50-year-old Ladakhi engineer, has been endeavour to solve the problem of water scarcity in agriculture in the desert landscapes of the western Himalayas by building “Ice Stupas”.

The Ladakh region, faces acute water shortage during the April-May early crop-growing period. Wangchuk was certain that access to water in the desert landscapes around many high altitude towns and villages of Ladakh could be improved if the huge seasonal outflow of glacial water could be frozen.

Inspired by the experimental work of a fellow Ladakhi engineer, Chewang Norphel, Wangchuk developed a simple and effective system, creating what he calls “ice stupas” — conical ice mounds that behave like mini-glaciers, slowly releasing water for the growing season.

“The Rolex Award funds will support the project and promote ice stupas as a climate-change adaptation and desert-greening technique,” Wangchuk said in a statement released by Rolex.
Wangchuk is currently working on establishing an alternative university on the 65-hectare land donated by the village that will engage youth from Ladakh, the Himalayas and other mountain regions of the world in finding their own solutions to the challenges facing them.
“The Rolex Awards were designed to support those whose own spirit of enterprise mirrored the enterprising spirit on which the company was founded,” Rebecca Irvin, Head of Philanthropy at Rolex, said in the release.


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