The innovator

Published : Jul 29, 2005 00:00 IST

LIKE all innovators, Chandrakant Pathak had his moment of brilliance at a time of crisis. Many years ago, during a flood situation, this mechanical engineer was wondering how to reach drinking water to the people of his village in Sangameshwar in Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra, which had no easy access to electricity. The solution to the crisis dawned on him when he saw a knife-grinder at work. Using similar pedal power, Chandrakant Pathak was able to draw water up to a height of 20 feet. The village got potable water, and "my mother's faith in me as an engineer was restored," he says.

Humour aside, that experience taught Pathak how technology could be made more relevant and accessible to all. He spent more than seven years perfecting his invention and applying the same principle to other applications.

Years later, this innovator continues to amaze. He harnesses bulls to a system of pulleys and transformers and creates enough energy to run computers, sprinkler systems, oil presses, flour mills and battery chargers. He assures you that "two bullocks can run a single-phase 240 volt air-conditioner". If that is not enough of a shocker, he adds that "one bull can also generate enough electricity to keep eight streetlights burning for at least six hours".

"People thought I was crazy to pedal and pump water," he says of his initial effort, but recognition came with a number of awards and, more important, an enthusiastic response from farmers who purchase the eco-friendly devices from his Modern Energy Park in Pune.

With the government now offering a 50 per cent subsidy on his products, Pathak says he will be able to reduce the prices by half, thereby making his inventions available to more villagers.

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