Bargarh district, situated near the bank of Mahanadi, is one of the highest paddy producing districts of Odisha. Despite the buckling down efforts of the local farmers to increase their agricultural productivity, many of them do not get the desired result. Observing the hardships of these farmers and influenced by the agriculture spirit of the land, five Mechanical Engineering students of nearby Veer Surendra Sai University of Technology (VSSUT) determined to dedicate their project work to poor and helpless farmers of this region. Eventually, they made a low-cost paddy transplanting machine, which a small farmer can conveniently buy or make.
The students – Pranay Panda, Ranjan Panda, Tatwam Sidhha Nanda, Rahul Nayak, Sohan Roy( all from B. Tech second year Mechanical Engineering) – decided from the beginning that they would base their innovative project for the wellbeing of farmers community. However, it was only after extensive research and filed visits of several villages they could conclude on what to do.
“We met with some 30 farmers from Bargarh and Sambalpur district and could observe that the farmers were okay with most of the equipments, except for the motorised paddy planting machine which costs around INR 40,000 even after the government subsidy. This triggered us to come up with a low-cost manual paddy planting machine which could be used by a farmer of any income group,” informed the mentor for the project, Bodhisattwa Sanghapriya, an Electrical and Electronics Engineering third-year student, who is also Secretary, Idea and Innovation Cell of the University.
The students’ work began with some computerised designs and drawings. Later on, they prepared the prototype with the help of unused/scrap iron. “We failed thrice on the field before coming up with the final product as there was always a slight gap between the computerised designs and field experiences. At last, we could come up with the right product and tested the efficiency; it was up to the mark,” further said Bodhisattwa.