Cost effective transportation technology developed by IIT Madras and Farmers NGO
Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras has developed an efficient and cost-effective agricultural transportation system in collaboration with Pothu Vivasayeegal Sangam, a non-government organisation (NGO) for farmers. The agricultural transportation system developed by IIT Madras is a lightweight monorail type, that can economically carry agricultural produce from the fields to collection points near the farmlands.
The cost-effective agricultural transportation research project was developed by Professor Shankar Krishnapillai, Department of Mechanical Engineering, IIT Madras, in a joint effort with the farmers’ NGO. The transport system is of a simple indigenous design, consisting of steel poles mounted on concrete footings placed at the edge of the field. High-strength, but light rails connect these posts with a span of six meters, and a traction unit powered by a petrol engine propels several trolleys carrying agricultural loads back and forth. Each of these trolleys can carry a load of about 40 kg.
Elaborating on the unique features of this transportation system, Professor Shankar Krishnapillai, said: “Indian farmers will face severe shortage of labour in the coming years, especially in post-harvest operations. This transportation system is made in local workshops, from locally available components, based on the lightweight overhead rail concept. The cost-effective agricultural transportation system can be easily installed on Indian farms and reduce labour requirements in transporting the produce. The system has also minimal environmental disturbance as it passes over the ground.”
This agricultural transport system is especially useful for farmers who grow crops along the river. “For instance, many farmlands in the Karur region are directly irrigated by the canals of the Cauvery river. As a result, it becomes extremely difficult for labourers to carry produce through these wetlands. The agricultural transportation system helps to address this issue,“ he added.
The a dvantages of deploying the proposed transportation system includes Providing an simple and economical solution to the issue of manpower shortage in agricultural activities. As per the release, with the deployment of this transportation system, the number of farm workers will be reduced to four from 32 people doing the same work. The transport system will help in avoiding the issue of bruising of fruits, which mainly occurs when the crops are manually transported to the collection points.
“The deployment of this transportation system has a minimal environmental impact as it requires only minimal space to erect the system, and does not disturb the vegetation over which it passes. his transportation system requires a low operation cost due to relatively lower-energy consumption due to moving over rail, and require only 2 persons to operate it, one at each end.,” the release stated.