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Pradeep Pattanayak

Until a few days ago, Maheshwar Binjhal would wear out carrying many buckets of water to irrigate his farmland. 

Things are different these days after the 50-year-old farmer from a remote village in Odisha’s  Sambulpur district came up with his own innovation that has not only spared him from the bone crushing labour, but helping him to irrigate his farmland without the use of electricity or machines. 

Sound impossible though! 

However, little educated Maheshwar of Kayakuda village under Jujumura Block in the district has made this possible. At present, crops in his farmland are undulating in breeze. Thanks to YouTube.

“In our village, electricity has been a perennial problem. I faced terrible hardships to irrigate my farmland till I was introduced to a YouTube video,” said an elated Binjhal.  

Binjhal said his uncle showed him the YouTube video. 

“While surfing YouTube on my mobile phone, I came across a video showing the trick to irrigate without using electricity or machine,” said Binjhal’s uncle. 

“When I showed that to Binjhal, he was confident that he could implement it to his advantage,” added Binjhal’s uncle. 

The first hurdle though was Binjhal’s poverty. He could not afford a smart phone to see the technique multiple times before adopting. However, that he overcame with help from his neighbour who owns a smartphone. He watched the video minutely for the next few days.

“There is no rocket science involved in it. What it all requires is a drum, a few pipes and three valves. No electricity or battery is required to run the system,” said Binjhal. 

Explaining the details of how the system works, Binjhal said, at first, the drum is roughly kept on another old drum horizontally within four wooden poles tightly so that it doesn’t slip off. 

A pipe is connected to a side of the drum while the other end of the pipe is dipped in a well. A funnel is fitted to it, close to the drum. On the other side of the drum, another pipe is connected which connects the field. The second pipe has a tap fitted to it at the end.

This makes the automatic water irrigation machine. 

Now understands how it works. 

“First, we have to fill up the drum up to 75 percent of its capacity. The rest 25 percent is left free. As we keep pouring water into the drum though the funnel, the liquid runs through the pipe into the well. Once the drum is filled to its’ capacity, the tap on the other pipe is opened. It will begin dispensing water into the farmland. It is as simple as ABC,” narrated a beaming Binjhal. 

Binjhal’s non-powered irrigation system has been a matter of discussion in the village and nearby villages as well now-a-days. 

“Initially Binjhal used to work as a carpenter to earn his livelihood. Then, for some days, he worked as a mason. When we heard about his innovation, it was hard to believe. But when I watched it in my own eyes, I was left speechless,” said a young farmer from Kayakuda village

Sharing similar experience, another youth said what Binjhal had done was worthy of praise. “His innovation works wonderfully. But it would work more efficiently if the drum is replaced with a brand new one,” he said. 

Explaining the physics behind the innovation, he said, “The trick lies in the drum itself. The vacuum which builds up air pressure in the partially empty drum makes water flow. The system would work more efficiently if Binijhal’s drum had no hole on it. But since the poor farmer could not afford a new air-tight drum, the efficiency of the system has been reduced,” he added. 

If the Block Development Officer (BDO) or any official from the Agriculture department provides financial assistance to Binjhal after inspection, it would be of a great help to him, observed locals. 

Binjhal’s family comprises four members-his wife and two daughters. His farmland is worth visiting for two reasons. First, the innovation and the second, the undulating crops including brinjal, tomatoes, shallot, garlic that has grown on it.

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