Tinkering with technology
He loves to dabble with pumps. Fourteen-year-old Sukumal Dutta along with the other members of the community has undergone training as a mechanic for diesel pumpsets. With help from the NBTDP, the conventional diesel pump which used to lift water was modified to increase the overall efficiency, reduce cost and pollution. Subrata Mazumdar, a researcher with the NBTDP, says, "It was found that the origi- nal five horse power (hp) pumpsets were consuming about one litre of fuel per hour while the discharge was low.' So the project team and the villagers sought a solution. And finally modified the pumps. They removed the checkvalve, introduced thermo-syphon drum cooling system and reduced the speed. The removal of the checkvalve led to the smooth extraction of water from the wells. The thermo-syphon system solved the temperature problem. Mazumdar informs,"The cost involved was Rs 250 for shallow well and Rs 500 for dugwell that led to an yearly saving of Rs 2,500.'
To ensure that the modified pump did not get shelved, the PSU formed the mistry samiti . Sukumal Dutta is a member of this samiti . The samiti consists of mechanics who are trained to modify and repair the pumps. The training was imparted by the PSU. " We are not only modifying the pumps, but also conveying the message of efficiency of the new pump to the farmers all across the region,' says Bablu Roy, president of Mathabhanga samiti in Cooch Behar district.
With the formation of the samiti, the earnings of the mechanics have become stable now. " Earlier, we used to only repair pumps but now we are providing technology and earning more,' says Jatin Das, secretary of the Mathabhanga samiti. There are 14 mechanics in the Mathabhanga co-operative. They deposit Rs 25 every month and have a total savings of Rs 15,425. They give the money as loan and earn interest.