by BIS Correspondent
MUMBAI, JULY 8, 2017: The role of any engineer is to make life easier, reduce dependency on earth's resources and improve quality of life through his inventions. This task becomes even more satisfying when their effort benefits the poorest of the poor. Students of Don Bosco Institute of Technology (DBIT), Kurla, did just that by providing eighty households of Aadkhadak situated in Jawhar taluka of Palghar district, Maharashtra with devices that would cut their reliance on wood to fuel their chulahs to cook on a daily basis.
The faculty and students of DBIT worked closely with the inhabitants of the village to identify problems and to solve them using relevant technology. The work was carried out under the guidance of Father Anaclete D'Mello and Bosco Samaj Vikas Sanstha (BSVS), Walvanda.
Locals have faced an uphill task, over an extended period, in sourcing firewood for fuelling their chulahs. They were forced to travel several kilometres every day and to carry several kilos of wood on their head. To reduce this drudgery, DBIT took up the project of improving the efficiency of burning in the chulahs .
After surveying literature and talking to experts including those from IIT Bombay, it was decided to use grates and swirlers which when introduced in the chulah increased the quantity of oxygen for burning and also introduced swirling of the air, both of which improved the efficiency of burning.
The grates and swirlers were designed and tested in the DBIT workshop for over three months to determine the most efficient designs. Samples were provided to some households in the hamlet for pilot testing. On obtaining favourable results, a meeting of the village women was held to obtain their approval for using these devices in their chulahs on a regular basis.
The women were asked to place an order for the device. On that basis, manufacturing of 100 such devices was taken up in the DBIT workshop. M/s Technotalent Engineers Pvt Ltd, a Bangalore based organisation provided the funding. On June 20, the DBIT team comprising of Dr. Prasanna Nambiar, Principal DBIT, Royal D'Souza, NSS in-charge, Snehal Bandal and Varun Chowthkanthiwar, both research assistants at DBIT and Prakash Wagh of BSVS visited the village. The women of the village were given the gadgets. A demonstration was given on the usage of the devices.
The social workers in the area were requested to gather feedback from the women about the usefulness of the devices and the resultant lesser reliance on wood. If, as claimed the reliance on wood is reduced by 30 to 40 per cent, then similar devices would be introduced in other villages in the area as well.
The entire project was not only a boon for the women in the area, but was also beneficial for the student engineers. They made life easier for locals as their stock of firewood would last for a longer time. At Don Bosco Institute of Technology, the emphasis is always to add value to life, especially of the deprived and the disadvantaged. For students who participated in this project it was also a lesson on improving life.