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    New Delhi: IIT Delhi’s rural technologies going intercontinental

    New Delhi (India Science Wire):  The Rural Technology Action Group (RuTAG) at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi has transferred two rural technologies to four African countries, including Ghana, Namibia, Sudan, and Zambia. The technologies include a ground water level measuring device and an ergonomically designed treadle pump, which are improved versions of the practices followed by the rural people in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, respectively. 

    The groundwater level measurement device developed by RuTAG, IIT Delhi, is used to measure the groundwater table in monitoring wells. The device consists of a robust rust-resistant stainless-steel probe connected to a high-tension coaxial cable. The cable is then connected to an electronic circuit containing a battery, an LED lamp, and a buzzer. The probe is an assemblage of plumb bob, perforated tubular body, high-pressure cord holding gland, and copper electrodes. The probe is lowered into the well, and as it comes in contact with water, the circuit is completed, the buzzer beeps, and the LED glows. The operator can then get the depth using the markings on the cord. The salient features of the device include portability, high operational stability, and accurate measurements.

    A treadle pump is a mechanical device which uses human power to draw water from the ground. It is a twin-cylinder reciprocating water pump presently being used by poor/marginal farmers in various places for irrigation purposes. These are particularly popular in areas where the water level is not too low (around 10 m or less). RuTAG IIT Delhi treadle pump is made using handpump and plumbing parts, making it easier for farmers in rural areas to obtain spare parts. The pump consists of two piston-cylinder assemblies, a delivery channel, inlet pipes, treadles, a handle, and an adjustable seat. The foot pedals on the treadles can be adjusted to meet the needs of individual user. An average person can draw water at a rate of 3500 to 4000 litres per hour. The treadle pump parts are made of mild steel, and the estimated life of the pump is around 10 to 15 years.

    While speaking about the transfer of the technologies to the Aftrican nations, Prof S.K. Saha, Coordinator, RuTAG, IIT Delhi, said, “It is a proud moment for RuTAG IIT Delhi to go global. More importanty, such knowledge sharing that would benefit the major percentage of the World population is a great satisfaction as a technologist. IIT Delhi is committed to expand and support such knowledge sharing in the days to come”.  

    Ground water level measuring device (above) and Split view of the probe, and novel probe (below L to R)

    Along with IIT Delhi, there are RuTAG centers at IIT Bombay, IIT Guwahati, IIT Kanpur, IIT Kharagpur, IIT Madras, and IIT Roorkee also. Together they published a compendium of 50+ technologies, which are ready to go to the field. They conducted three international conferences on Rural Technology Development and Delivery (RTDD) at IIT Delhi, Madras, and Jodhpur in the years 2018, 2020, and 2022, respectively. 

    RuTAG at IIT Delhi was set up in 2009 and has been working on several demand-driven technologies to reduce the toils of the villagers and improve their performances.  Through RTDD, RuTAGs propagate the philosophy of "Researchizing Rural Problems," while the projects in the centers connect the young engineering minds with society.

    (India Science WIre)

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