Muktapur, is located a kilometre away from Pochampally village, Andhra Pradesh - a place famous for its sarees. Predominantly a fishing hamlet, the local fishermen rear fish in local water bodies that are quite numerous in the area. The income from the sales is distributed amongst the village community.
But come monsoon, the several fish growers in the village face a problem of a different kind, and that is dense growth of Hyacinths (weeds) on the water surface. The dense growth of the weeds chokes the oxygen supply in the water, killing the fishes.
Every year, hyacinth grows wildly in water bodies and hampers the growth of the fish. The cost of removing the weeds is the responsibility of the locals, and about 50 people labour intensively for 2-3 months to remove the weeds. The cost of labour alone comes to Rs. 3 lakh rupees annually.
Removal of the aquatic weed has always been a manual job in the country and nowhere here has a machine been developed to do this work. It was left to Mr. Godasu Narasimha, a member of the fishing community, to develop a machine that could easily remove the noxious weeds.
Using a special tool he cuts the internal root network of the hyacinth. Bamboos placed on three sides of the cut network are connected to the machine using ropes. “The ropes will give way if the hyacinth network is pulled. So the bamboos are pulled [instead],” says Mr. J. Durga Prasad, CEO, Creative Minds, and member of honeybee network. The network has volunteers all over the country to scout and document local grassroot innovators
One end of the rope is tied to a conveyer belt that pulls the plants into a rotating shaft that moves into a chute provided with eight cutters positioned diametrically. The hyacinths are then cut into pieces 3-4 inches in length by the cutter. A tractor is positioned under the cutter and the cut pieces drop directly into the vehicle.
When full the tractor dumps the cut pieces into an open ground for reuse later as manure for fields.
Four men for a period of five days use this machine to remove the weeds, which otherwise require nearly 50 people to do manually for 2-3 months.
The cost incurred comes to Rs. 2,000 for labour and Rs.1,500 for diesel to run the engine for a water body covering nearly two acres. Besides the huge savings in removal of hyacinth, an additional income from the better growth of the fish was also generated.
Recently, under orders from Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC),
Kummari Kunta lake in Hayatnagar and Shatan talab lake near Golkonda Fort area, Hyderabad were completely cleaned with the help of this device. Presently the machine is being run to clean the Huda lake which is a famous landmark in the region.
Considering the quality of work, savings on labour, and speed of cleaning GHMC has placed orders worth Rs. 70 lakh for cleaning similar lakes in and around Hyderbad city.
According to Mr. Narasimha the machine can remove about 50 tonnes of hyacinth in a day. NABARD has also provided some financial assistance for development of the machine.
“Mr. Narasimha devised a simple but very effective device for easy removal of hyacinth from water bodies deploying minimal manpower. By cutting the hyacinth to pieces, he reduced the weight of the debris by 85 per cent and volume by 80 per cent. This makes the disposal very easy,” says Mr. J.Durga Prasad.
Hyacinths are considered to be a big problem in the country. Especially for those rearing fish in open water bodies, the presence of the aquatic weed is a cause of worry. The weeds grow fast during and immediately after the monsoon.
“Till date there is no permanent remedy for this weed. The seeds sprout even after years of dormancy,” says Durga Prasad.
To talk to the innovator Mr. Godasu Narasimha, readers can contact Mr. J. Durga Prasad, CEO, Creative Minds, email:email@example.com, mobiles: 07382078959 / 08886070766.