Specially written for Vikalp Sangam
In times of diesel price rise and farmers’ distress, why is the government ignoring a farmer’s invention for reducing diesel costs which can also cut down on GHG emissions in a big way
In recent weeks diesel price rise has been widely discussed, as also the fact that in rural areas this is adding further to the economic crisis of farmers.
Mangal turbine is a widely acclaimed device which can help to save millions of litres of diesel used by farmers in all those places where they use diesel pump sets to lift water from streams, rivulets and canals.
This device has been invented by a farmer scientist of Bundelkhand, Mangal Singh. It has been widely acclaimed by top government officials and technocrats.
If there is a massive saving of diesel, huge cuts in greenhouse gas emissions are also achieved, a huge plus point in these time of climate change.
Despite all this, this widely acclaimed (by senior-most government officials) technology and device are still widely neglected and its inventor is suffering great economic hardships. This situation should be remedied on the basis of urgency.
The Ministry of Rural Development had asked for an evaluation of all aspects of this highly promising device. The Maithani Committee Reports prepared on this basis has also extended whole-hearted support and praise to this device.
This technology is described by Mangal Singh in the following words, – “The water wheel turbine machine consists of a water wheel which is firmly mounted on a steel shaft and supports on two bearing blocks fixed on foundation supports. The shaft is coupled with a suitable gearbox through universal couplings for stepping up speed of rotation. Output shaft of the gear box is coupled on one end with a centrifugal pump for lifting water and the other end is mounted with a suitable pulley for deriving power for operating any machine. Design of the water wheel turbine is simple. It is available in different size to meet the varying requirements. Operation of water Wheel Turbine Pump-cum-P.T.O. Machine is very easy as anyone can operate the machine by opening the wooden or steel gate valve, the machine is stopped by stopping the flow of water through the gate.”
Thus apart from lifting water the Mangal turbine can also be used for several additional tasks. In the words of Mangal Singh, “This is used for pumping water from the rivulets and water streams on which it is installed. The machine can be used for several rural works such as operating atta chakki, sugarcane, crushing, threshing and winnowing, oil expelling, chaff cutting, etc. The machine provides a clean alternative (non-conventional) source of energy in remote rural areas for increasing agricultural productivity, income and employment”. By linking it to a generator, this machine can also provide electricity.
The Maithani report has explained the idea and functioning of Mangal Turbine – Shri Mangal Singh of village Bhailoni Lodh, Block Bar, district Lalitpur UP invented a fuel less water lifting device in 1987. This device is known as ‘Mangal Turbine’. There are several variants of the Turbine but the standard device contains a water wheel of 2 meter diameter with 12 blades radially fixed to the rim. The shaft is coupled with a suitable gear box for stepping up of rotation to 1500-1800 rpm. The output shaft of the gear box is coupled on one end with a centrifugal pump for lifting water and the other end is mounted with a suitable pulley to operate any other machine like crusher, grinder etc. By using the energy of flowing water in a stream, Mangal Turbine enables lifting of water for irrigation/drinking purposes and also produces mechanical power that can be used for various other purposes.”
B.K. Saha, former Chief Secretary, Govt. of Madhya Pradesh, has written about this device, “I made a detailed analysis of the economic viability of the ‘Wheel’ and its comparative advantage vis-a-vis alternative methods of pumping water from streams and small rivers for irrigation. The system is extremely cost effective even after taking into consideration the cost of the Stop Dam. Where the Stop Dam is already available the system is even more cost effective. Installation of this device is strongly recommended wherever there is flowing water in small streams by constructing a stop dam and installing one or two water wheels as designed and developed by Shri Mangal Singh. It saves on energy like electricity or diesel and is ecologically completely benign.”
The Maithani Report says about Mangal Turbine, “it is undoubtedly unparalleled in its simplicity and utility. Its cost benefit cannot be restricted to the extent of area irrigated and increase in production and income on account of that. Its benefits are multiple and multidimensional.
The value of Mangal Singh’s work has increased further in recent times as the need to curb fossil fuel consumption and the related greenhouse gas emissions has increased.
It has been estimated that if one unit of Mangal Turbine runs for 11 hours in a day, then it saves 44 litres of diesel in a day (on the basis of use of 4 litre diesel per hour by 25 HP diesel pump). Again assuming irrigation by MT on 190 days in a year, a single unit of MT can save 8360 litres (44×190) in a typical year. Over a lifetime of 15 years one unit of MT can potentially save 125400 litres (8360×15). In terms of greenhouse gas emissions (using assumption made in US Environment Protection Agency fact sheet) this works out to 335 tonnes. This estimate by Dr. Jai Shankar Singh is made on the basis of the assumption that one unit of MT will lift water from a stream which is equivalent to 25 HP diesel pump set and irrigate a command area of 50 ha.
Reduction in diesel consumption and related GHG emissions can further increase significantly to the extent that the M.T. is used also (in addition to water lifting) for processing of various farm produce and other work.
Dr. Sarla Gopalan, former Advisor Planning Commission who visited the Mangal Turbine installation site near Mangal Singh’s native village recommended after her visit.
“This is an excellent example of energy conservation and needs to be popularised for the benefit of the people in various other locations where advantage of flowing water is available.
Apart from making a very useful invention at a relatively young age (40 years) Mangal Singh has since then distinguished himself by his tireless work and great commitment for spreading this work, making improvements in it and trying to experiment at various sites to improve the location specific effectiveness of his invention. This work he has continued in very adverse conditions and with great financial constraints for nearly 31 years till now (1987-2018).
Mangal Singh is getting old, and no time should be lost now in fully utilising his talent. The government should start work at at least 20 suitable sites for installing Mangal turbines, and at each site at least five youths should be trained for this work by Mangal Singh so that within 2 years we have at least 20 demonstration sites and 100 youths well skilled in this work.
In addition Mangal Singh should be honoured and suitably compensated for all his work and sacrifice so far.