Had read about Nano Ganesh a couple of days back in ET. The relevance and the desire to share the story got amplified post a telecom client mtg!
It's a story about the leap-frogging India. The other India(read rural)that is also growing exponentially in technology adoption and aspiration but often doesn't feature prominently on the radar of big media!
It's a story of innovation amongst farmers in Anand’s Sojitra, a village cluster, about 30 km east of Ahmedabad. On a sleepy summer afternoon in Sojitra one Bhavesh Patel makes a game changing call from his Nokia E-75, but says nothing and hangs up. “Will it come?” asks one of the villagers. They were all eagerly waiting for water to flow into their fields from a reservoir 10 km away. Patel had just activated the pump set at the site by making the call.
The inventor of this mobile-phone enabled gadget however named it Ganesh first and them prefixed it with ‘Nano’ after Tata Motors decided to relocate its Nano factory to Sanand, near Ahmedabad.
Santosh Ostwal, the Pune-based founder of Ossian Agro Automation has developed the gadget that’s revolutionising irrigation in farms across Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. Around 7,000 farmers are already using Nano Ganesh. Ostwal hopes his impending north India launch will take the number to one lakh in two years.
Ostwal is taking advantage of low mobile tariffs and handset prices. Among many of the USPs of the device are its price tag at $15 - 55 apiece, and ease of use.
The idea has its roots in Ostwal’s childhood when he spent time with his grandfather, a farmer who grew oranges. His village didn’t have a television set; even electricity was a luxury. The senior Ostwal had to walk deep into his orchard late at night, with a stick and a flickering oil lamp to water the trees. “He developed infections on his feet and had to lose one of his legs.
That set Ostwal thinking whether he could do something for farmers so that they wouldn’t have to walk into the fields to water the saplings or plants!
A good education helped him become an engineer and got him a job at Telco. He quit in the mid-eighties, and started working on his idea. 10 years later he had developed the 'Nano Ganesh'.
Ostwal’s simple application is already winning him accolades the world over. Nokia recognised his work at the All Innovators contest in Barcelona last year with a cash prize of $25,000 and promised to distribute his mobile application to consumers worldwide!!
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