A Team of 5 Mechanical Engineering Students from Odisha Make Low-Cost Paddy Transplanting Machine to Help Local Farmers

Mechanical Engineering Students
The students with their prototype

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.

Mechanical Engineering Students“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.

Mechanical Engineering Students

As per the students, the cost of the machine would come around Rs 1500 only in case virgin iron is used and the cost will come down to 50 percent in the case of mass production. To add value to their innovation, the students do not want the interference of any industrial house and want to open source the technique of making the machine. As the making of the machine is based on easy mechanisms and do not require more resources other than some pieces of iron and a welder, the students want to visit villages to train the farmers to make this low-cost machine themselves.

 The students, guided by their faculty Prof. Bandan Kumar Bhoi, are among regular innovators of the technical university. Earlier, they had developed an android app to curb corruption in Indian Railways, for which they have received accolades from several state-level and national forums. Presently, they are working on a mega project of launching a rocket satellite for remote sensing, shield analysis and protection of Hirakud dam, the longest dam in India. The students are also trying to further regenerate the manual paddy planting machine for better efficacy.