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This School Dropout Mechanic’s Low Cost Farm Equipment Is a Boon to Farmers

He has spent almost Rs 1.5 to 2 lakh in the past two years to invent these machines.

Rajendra Lohar from Pachvara village in Jalgaon district of Maharashtra has made a low-cost mini tiller and five more farming equipment which are proving to be a boon for the farmers.

You will be surprised to know that Rajendra has not taken any formal degree in mechanical nor did he go through any training. He does not even have a farming background, which would help him to design these machines.

 
Rajendra is a mechanic and had to drop out of school after class 10 due to financial constraints. His father was a welder in an oil mill in Jalgaon, and his meagre salary was not enough to feed a family of seven. Hence, Rajendra – being the eldest son – had to leave his education and work in a garage.
Rajendra worked in this garage for 18 years and learnt every aspect of mechanics from his master. He took on and fulfilled the responsibility of marrying his three sisters and helping his brother, Rajendra, started his own garage in Jalgaon.
It was a small city and soon Rajendra was well known for his punctuality and perfection in his work. During this time, Rajendra also developed a keen interest in designing new machines.

He first developed a car with an auto-rickshaw engine and was praised by the entire district. After this, one day in 2014 his farmer friend, Motilal Patil visited him and suggested him to make some low-cost machines which will be helpful for the farmers.

 
He wanted him to design some machines which could be used by a farmer single-handedly as hiring and getting labour was a huge problem.
“I had no idea about farming, but my friend explained to me how a tiller works and so under his guidance, I made a small power tiller with a scooter’s engine,” says Rajendra while speaking to The Better India.
However, after using for a year, Motilal came back to Rajendra and listed a few problems in the machine. With his feedback, Rajendra improvised the tiller. He felt the need to stay near the farmers to take feedbacks and make a perfect machine through the trial and error method.
Hence he visited the nearby village of Pachvara where he interacted with farmers, asked them to give a trial run to the tiller, and kept improving it. After many attempts the tiller was finally ready.

While the market rate of a tiller costs more than a lakh and a half, Rajendra’s mini tiller, made with a scooter engine and waste material from his garage – costs just Rs. 18000. 

Rajendra is still working on the tiller, which according to him is 60-70% perfect. The tiller can be used to remove weeds efficiently and single handedly. It can also be used to till and sow seeds at required distance without the use of bulls or much human effort.

A farmer can even sit on it and use it like a mini tractor. The gears of the tiller can be changed both by hands or feet. The tiller requires 1.5 litre petrol to run over 1 acre of land and thus the cost is much lower than the labour cost required to till this much land. 

News spread about Rajendra’s invention and more and more farmers started visiting him. Marginal farmers started giving him suggestions for more machines and he followed their instructions.

Two years ago Rajendra handed over his garage in Jalgaon to the young workers who were working for him for many years and shifted to Pachvara. He started his garage ‘Vishwakarma Welding works’ in the village on a bigger plot so that he can continue to experiment on more machines.
“Those boys had been like my own sons, they have worked hard for the garage and so I handed over the garage to them. Being a village I get very few vehicles to repair here in Pachvara, compared to Jalgaon, but that’s okay. I needed to be near the farmers to understand their problems and to keep testing my inventions. After all, I am just an uneducated mechanic. I can develop my machines only by trial and error method unlike engineers who know the proper technique and calculations to do so,” he says.

So far Rajendra has invented five low-cost machines useful for the marginal farmers. In the past 2-3 years, he has spent almost Rs 1.5 to 2 lakh to invent these machines. But he feels overwhelmed when farmers come and help him financially to carry on with his experiments. 

“The farmers trust me now. People come from far away villages too. This is such an honour and satisfaction that money cannot buy. Though I earn less money here, I have earned much more respect. See! You are calling me from so far. This makes me feel worthy even if I can’t get educated or get a good position in my life,” says this 56-year-old inventor.
 You can contact Rajendra on 9975393181

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Written by Manabi Katoch

A Mechanical Engineer-turned-writer, Manabi finds solace in writing stories about unsung heroes. Nothing makes her happier than the impact emails from her readers. Other than writing, she loves listening to the stories told by her six year old daughter. Manabi can be reached at manabi@thebetterindia.com. You can also find her tweets @manabi5