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Tech to improve rural life on show
- Three-day exhibition provides a platform for innovative instruments

Jan. 23: A dheki (wooden grinder) is as different from a bicycle with two chains as chalk and cheese. There’s nothing common either between a cocoon opener (device to produce a yarn of thread) and a chair for psychiatric patients.

But all of these and more were the cynosure of all eyes at an exhibition of products designed to bring a smile to the face of the common man.

The three-day exhibition — Gramya Prajyukti: Technology for Improving Rural Life — opened today at NEDFi Haat in Ambari here.

The event is being organised by the Rural Technology Action Group, a chain of centres set up in a number of IITs across the country with the aim to upgrade rural technologies in terms of productivity, efficiency and affordability.

The modus operandi of the mission is to identify technologies in practice which can be improved further with more scientific inputs through a process of synergy and consensus among NGOs, scientific and technolo- gical institutions and development agencies.

The action groups of IIT Kharagpur and IIT Madras are showcasing posters and video presentations on some rural technologies developed by them. These technologies include models of muri (puffed rice) making machine, sabai grass rope-making machine, rope-polishing machine, and a pedal potter’s wheel.

The National Innovation Foundation has also put up some of their innovative technologies, as have some faculty members of IIT Guwahati and a few NGOs of the region. Assam innovator Uddhab Kumar Bharali also displayed a few of his products.

Pradyut Kumar Goswami, vice-chancellor of Assam Science and Technology University, inaugurated the exhibition.

“This exhibition showcases the most economical way of making daily-use items like for cleaning fish or for the effective use of fuel. These types of exhibitions should be organised more at remote places like Dhemaji, Nalbari and Biswanath Chariali. An important aspect of the products is that they do not require exotic and expensive raw materials. The instruments can be made from materials available in the region,” he said.

“The exhibition emphasises the involvement and participation of prospective entrepreneurs who may take a leading role in popularisation and commercialisation of such technologies that have the potential to create economic prosperity for rural communities and artisans,” said S.K. Katoky, coordinator of the action group of IIT Guwahati.

Katoky said they were focussing on improving technologies related to traditional lifestyle and local resource-based enterprises such as bamboo and cane handicraft, weaving silk yarns and traditional apparels, potteries and herbal drugs.

“A notable achievement of our centre is the mechanisation of weaving of plain muga silk fabric through power loom which has been implemented as a pilot project at the Export Promotional Industrial Park in Amingaon,” Katoky said.