NORTH LAKHIMPUR, March 10 - Come March 11 and there will be history for the entire Lakhimpur district. Uddhab Bharali, the man of more than 150 incredible innovations and designs from North Lakhimpur is going to receive this year�s Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian honour of the country.
As the innovation wizard has already landed in nation�s capital to receive the honour from President Ramnath Kovind, there is joy and merriment in his hometown North Lakhimpur. Bharali has become the first person from Lakhimpur district to get a Padma Shri � which makes the day even more historic for the people here to rejoice. A recipient of a number of national and international awards including the President�s National Grassroots Innovation Award in 2009 and NASA tech brief Create the Future Design contest-2013, Padma Shri is the latest feather in his cap.
The mechanical engineer who started his journey of innovating devices in 1988 while redesigning a polythene making machine worth Rs 5.07 lakh for Rs 67, 000 to bail out his debt-ridden family� the success has been extraordinary. Among numerous innovations and designs, Bharali�s internationally most acclaimed creation is pomegranate de-seeding machine. Using centrifugal force, hammer within a spinning cylinder, Bharali�s innovation is a low-cost machine that could de-seed pomegranates. The machine can de-seed 55 kilos of pomegranates in less than an hour.
His gadgets are targeted at rural low-income households. In 2006, Uddhab�s design for a desktop pomegranate de-seeding machine was recognised as the first of its kind across the world. This invention led to his nomination for NASA�s Technology Award. Another breakthrough was the mini CTC tea plant, which aims to help small time tea-plucking workers and farmers. It has gained him a nomination for the World Technology Award 2012. Tea-plucking workers, who earlier received Rs 9 per kg for the tea crop, are now getting up to Rs 20 per kg through this plant.
Uddhab Bharali also holds training programmes for illiterate students. He also runs an orphanage and old age home in North Lakhimpur and has plans to absorb the orphans into his training cell and make them self-sufficient. The Padma Shri awardee also hopes that the old people at his shelter would act as guardians for the orphanages and would have companions from them.