TEZPUR, Jan 22 - Dr Uddhab Bharali, who is a widely acclaimed techie of the region who has innovated a number of useful machines till date for the common people, was recently awarded the Role Model Award.
The award was jointly conferred by the Indian Institute of Science and Think India in sync with the 19th All India Youth Festival christened �Jagruti� that was organised at the Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru on January 13.
It may be pertinent to add here that Dr Bharali, whose name is his identity, is famed across the globe through his innovations. He is credited with 39 universal patents and also conferred the World Technology Award, 2012 by the World Technology Network for a mini CTC tea plant that aims to help smalltime tea pluckers and farmers, besides the NASA Technology Award 2012 for his desktop pomegranate de-seeding machine.
Dr Bharali, while talking to this Correspondent after returning from Bengaluru mentioned that till date he has 149 innovations under his belt, including the recently-innovated seeded banana de-seeder (bhimkal) and the red cardamom dryer that was presented to the Spice Board of India.
�I have been working regularly for design of gadgets for the differently-abled people. This work is purely philanthropic. I am the only person in this area of activity in the country.� Dr Bharali said.
Originally hailing from Lakhimpur district, he is a mechanical engineer whose first innovation was a polythene-making machine in 1988. The pomegranate deseeding machine, invented in 2006 by Dr Bharali, was one of the 26 qualifiers for the prestigious NASA award, out of which 10 finalists was chosen by online voting.
More importantly, the de-seeder, already being exported to the US and Turkey, separates the outer cover and thin inner membrane without damaging the seeds. It has a capacity of de-seeding 50-55 kg of pomegranates per hour.
Dr Bharali, who is a visiting director of engineering and technology, simultaneously in Tezpur and Dibrugarh universities, added that among his numerous innovations are an areca nut peeler which has found customers in Indonesia and Ethiopia, cassava peeler which has been bought in Kenya, garlic-peeling machine, tobacco-leaf cutter, paddy thresher, cane-stripping machine, brass utensil polishing machine, safed musli-peeling machine, jatropha de-seeder, mechanised weeding machine, passion fruit juice extractor, trench digger and a chopper for cattle and fisheries. He also designed a stevia pulveriser and multipurpose herbal dyer which retains the colour of objects put into it like tea, king chilli powder, turmeric or ginger. He also designed a passion fruit gel extractor. The serial innovator has been developing machinery that benefits poorer sections of the society. Though it seems that most of his popular innovations are agriculture- based machinery, but each one is such that it makes life easier for those in need.
Uddhab himself has reached his present position from very difficult circumstances. He used to skip meals and often sleep on an empty stomach, or even borrow food. When recognition came his way after his first innovation, circumstances were such that he could not even afford to stay in a hotel, and slept on a railway platform instead.
Dr Bharali is also the winner of various national awards, including the President�s Award for Innovation in 2009, Shristi Samman�Master Innovator Award by NIF-India in 2007 and is also the recipient of the Meritorious Invention Award 2010 from the Union Department of Science and Technology. The National Innovation Foundation has been spurring him on to innovate by facilitating licensing and providing other technical support. Not only innovating and designing, Dr Uddhab Bharali also manufactures some of the machines, usually built at UKB Agro-tech Machine Designing Research Centre.
�Depending on the specifics, some of the machine parts may be outsourced, but only to people in his home district. These parts are then sent to UKB Agrotech, where the parts are assembled so as to build the final product. UKB Agrotech has trained staff under me who work exclusively for UKB Agrotech. I am associated with the IIT RUTAG (Rural Technological Action Group), Guwahati and have developed two machines, a cocoon opener and a cotton lap-cutting device for use by common people. A third machine, a manual areca nut bisector is under the works. Other than this, I am associated with various government and non-governmental organisations,� Bharali said, adding he is a resource scholar to many schools and colleges and takes entrepreneurial classes at the Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship, Guwahati.
�I have also innovated a feeding machine by which a physically challenged person can feed himself,� he concluded.