Champaran: selected grassroots innovations from Bihar


Yatra of Innovations


The Champaran Shodhyatra was interspersed with pleasant discoveries of innovations; most of them were born out of compassion to assuage the sufferings around.

Silencer cum Pollution Control Device


Birendra Sinha, had a school right opposite to his workshop where he made steel doors, fencing and other materials. He used a diesel genset (generator coupled with stationary engine) of 15 hp as an alternative to the erratic electricity supply. The problem was that the genset made a lot of noise, released considerable smoke causing pollution and also disturbed the children. Neither the school nor the workshop could be moved away. But empathizing with the difficulty of the children, Birendra did what most users of diesel engine had not even attempted. He invented a silencer cum pollution control device which has a number of fins. The exhaust gases strike against them continuously while passing through this innovative attachment. In about six to eight months, it collects 12 to 14 kg of carbon, which can be easily taken out by beating the cylinder from outside. The smoke which comes out eventually is very clean and leaves no trace of carbon on the leaves of the tree growing nearby or in the atmosphere. The noise also reduced considerably and both the workshop and school could co-exist. The court judgment against him in response to the protest by neighbours had also forced him to develop this device, apart from his compassion towards the children and the environment. NIF has got it tested by BIT Mesra and they found about 30 % reduction in carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide emission and a drastic reduction in the temperature of exhaust gases. This innovation is all set to change the emission standards for engines. NIF has filed the patent (1520/KOL/2008) in the name of Birendra Kumar Sinha for his outstanding innovation.A large number of workshop mechanics use such engines which create both noise and air pollution and yet there are not many examples of such devices. Akasi from Sivakasi, Tamil Nadu had developed one such device way back in 2000 and was awarded in the first annual grassroots innovation award function of NIF in 2001. There is a need to pool in such expertise and help in developing a real competitive technology by engaging experts in this field.

Coffee-making Machine


Shodhyatris observed a very ingenious coffee-making machine innovated by Mohammed Rozadin. A pressure cooker had been modified by attaching a valve and a copper pipe in a separate hole in the cover of the cooker. One could release the steam to make coffee. Unlike the big coffee-making machine, which required electricity for powering it, this one could work on stove or any source of fire. In a few hundred rupees, one could enjoy cappuccino/espresso coffee. Even if such a device existed elsewhere, none of the Shodhyatris had seen it ever before. More than a 100 tea shack owners are grateful to Mohammed Rozadin for supplementing their income with his coffee making attachment.

Folding Bicycle


Sandeep, another innovator had innovated a folding bicycle which can be assembled in few minutes. His feat was significant as he could achieve it despite his physical handicap. The quality of finishing of his folding cycle was extremely good. He got it fabricated by sitting with local workshop mechanics for hours on weekends, since he was busy with his job during the week days. Sandeep desires to license this technology to some entrepreneur. Anyone listening!

Electronic Mouse Trap


Meraz, a young innovator demonstrated his innovations like electronic mouse trap, magnetic balance, clock for displaying minutes and seconds, AC/DC mobile charger, etc.  The machine not only captures mice but also produces audio signal after capturing. It is an electronic machine which works on 6V battery.  It is made up of wooden block, inside which there is an iron plate at the end and is connected with a circuit through a switch.  A piece of bread kept beneath the plate disconnects the circuit, which is completed when the rat pulls the bread. And shutter of box is closed within a second with audio signal.  He also has made a zig-zag path inside the box so the rat cannot escape out easily. His lines inspired everybody:

“Jo gyan samasyaon ka samadhan kare wahi vigyan hai, suvigyan hai tatha adhunik yug ke vikas ka mantra hai Pratyek vyakti vaigyanik hai aur uska pratham khoj hai, apne bhitar chhupe guno ko khojana, nikharana” (Knowledge that solves  problems of others is good science and a key to development. Every man is a scientist and his first discovery is to look for his virtues within and augment them.)

Silencer cum Pollution Control Device


Shri Nandeshwar Sharma has innovated a silencer cum pollution control device, similar to the silencer of a two wheeler. It could be attached to the diesel engine used for irrigation. It is ironic that not a single diesel engine used by farmers in the country is fitted with such a device. Bureau of Indian Standards [BIS] does not even require that every pump set should be fitted with a silencer and pollution control device. This along with that of Shri Birendra Kumar Sinha’s innovation, could have a major impact on the quality of life and environment for the farmers and labourers. Shri Sharma has made another innovation for managing the pressure in the pump. Normally before starting an irrigation pump, farmers have to put a hand to create the suction pressure. To avoid that problem, he developed a one-way valve operated by a hand pump so that after pumping a few times, irrigation pump could be easily started.

Herbal Pesticide


Smt Janaki Devi has innovated a herbal pesticide. NIF helped her file a patent (1699/Kol/2008) on her formulation with her consent. The initial results of her formulation seem quite promising.

Rickshaw Gear


Nishant displayed his device, a gear fora rickshaw. In this gear, when one pedals backwards, gear gets activated and the rickshaw puller is required to put less effort for climbing uphill or even starting it. This is a compact and easily retrofittable gear compared to other alternatives available in market.

Anil K Gupta