Bargarh district in Odisha is a paddy producing district and is close to our university. Paddy farming is labour intensive. Paddy needs to be transplanted. It is a very tedious task and causes various ailments to farmers. We – Pranay Panda, Ranjan Panda, Tatwamsiddha Nanda, Rahul Kumar Nayak, Sohan Roy (all from B.Tech second year mechanical engineering) – decided from the beginning that we would take part in our innovative project for the well-being of farmers.
We met with some 30 farmers from Bargarh and Sambalpur district and thought of a solution. The motorised paddy planting machine available in the market is expensive. This triggered us to come up with a low-cost hand-operated paddy transplanting machine which could be used by a farmer belonging to any income group. We were guided by the faculty advisor of Idea Club, Prof. Bandan Kumar Bhoi and the mentor for the project, Bodhisattwa Sanghapriya (a third-year student from electrical and electronics engineering ), who is among the regular innovators in our university.
The technique of shifting one plant to another location is called transplanting. At first, the farmers sow rice in a nursery, and after 15 to 20 days, it grows up to the size of two to three inches, after which they are transplanted to the fields. The farmers plant the saplings in a bunch, row-wise. However, this is a very labour-intensive job. Farmers plant the saplings bending down, which causes various ailments like back pain, spondylitis. It is very costly for a farmer to hire labour for such jobs.
We, the students of Idea and Innovation Cell, Veer Surendra Sai University of Technology (formerly UCE) Burla, Odisha, have developed a hand-operated rice transplanter, which is a solution to the above problem. It is lightweight and is easy to use. The machine is operated by a pedal and powered by hands. Since it is hand operated, it has very low maintenance, unlike the motor-driven alternatives which require proper maintenance and have a recurring cost of fuels (petrol and diesel).
The parts are made from scrap materials which can be easily and readily obtained from any bicycle shop. Scrap materials like iron strips, iron rods, bearings, bicycle chains, steel plates, etc. It took three months to design and develop the machine and cost us only ₹1500. However, if more machines are manufactured in mass, the production cost will significantly reduce.