The Mangal Turbine needs to be promoted to help farmers, save fuel and go green

Several years after a rural innovator Mangal Singh had obtained a patent for a device which lifts water from streams without using diesel or electricity (See Periscope, May 11,2012), its many-sided usefulness continues to get recognition from several sources.

The Rural Development Ministry asked a former director of the National Rural Development Institute Dr. B.P. Maithani to inquire into various aspects of this innovation, particularly the problems which cropped up in the official programme meant to 'support' the device and its innovator.

In his report (copy of which was obtained under RTI) Dr. Maithani has praised and recommended the innovation. His report said that the Mangal Turbine (MT), “is undoubtedly unparalleled in its simplicity and utility. Its cost benefit cannot be restricted to the extent of area irrigated and increase in production and income on account of that. Its benefits are multiple and multi-dimensional.

“Bundelkhand is a drought prone area and its main problem is lack of irrigation. Unfortunately, our policy makers and planners prefer big and extravagant projects which allow pilferage and splurge. Mangal Turbine offers the low cost, environment friendly and sustainable solution to the irrigation problem of Bundelkhand.”

Earlier a report titled ‘Problems and Potential of Bundelkhand with Special Reference to Water Resource Base’ was prepared by the Centre for Rural Development and Technology (CRDT), IIT Delhi and Vigyan Shikshan Kendra (VSK). This report also examined MT carefully and recommended it for its great utility. This report said, “Most significant aspect is that the entire system designed by Mangal Singh is easily fabricated in the village itself, using available material and local workmanship. Besides, it requires minimal maintenance compared to other types, expertise for its maintenance is available in the village itself.”

“Using his engineering skills (through he had no formal training in engineering), Mangal Singh coupled a sugar cane crusher to the main shaft using a belt drive. Simultaneously, both water pumping and crushing could also be done. Similarly, the energy generated could be used for running a grain thresher, grinder etc. He uses this energy for operating the machines tool of a local workshop. Effectively water wheel becomes a source of rotational energy which can be used for any purpose.”

“This turbine is a fine example of common people's inventiveness, and should be encouraged by all means for people's benefit. It is unfortunate that in the pervasive atmosphere of ‘foreignomania’, this device has not got the recognition it deserves.”

Despite these commendations, Mangal Singh today is a shattered man, for he has never received the recognition he deserved. His bag full of documents proves how badly he was treated by officials and government agencies. If he had received the help and encouragement that was rightly his, then by this time he would have saved the country billions of rupees (also foreign exchange) and what is even more important, massive amounts of fossil fuel in these days of climate change.

Mangal Singh has created the potential of saving millions of litres of diesel per year and the accompanying reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, apart from helping millions of farmers. There should be no delay to promote the Mangal Turbine and take advantage of our home-bred barefoot scientists.

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