A crammed two bedroom with tools and equipment lying haphazardly in Brindavan Colony of Uppal, Hyderabad is what comprises Bommagani Mallesh’s workshop.
One day Mallesh hopes to convert this tiny space into a big manufacturing unit that will provide employment to scores of youth.
The 33-year-old rural entrepreneur from Hyderabad has a doctorate, although he has completed only Class 9. He received an honorary doctorate from the United Theological Research University, Secunderabad for his innovations.
Mallesh has received wide recognition for his innovations, which include a solar-powered pesticide sprayer, weed remover machine, device to switch water pumps on and off with your mobile, and so on.
“I want to expand my business and design more tools and products that will help farmers. I am a farmer too. The plight of farmers is sad, they take huge loans uncertain of their productivity. So my innovations are aimed at cutting their costs and increasing the productivity,” he says.
Today, Mallesh is a successful rural scientist who has three employees of his own.
As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention. Mallesh, who was always fascinated with technology and its mechanics, began his pilot project not out of interest but necessity.
Mallesh’s first project after undergoing a training programme in electronics was to create a device which would enable his paralysed mother to operate the fans and lights at home on her own without seeking anyone’s help.
“I was 15 then; my father and I used to go out for work. Until we came home at night, my mother would be lying helplessly in the dark. It was sad, so I created a remote through which she could switch on the lights and fans lying on her cot itself,” Mallesh recalls.
Mahesh has sold over 5,000 units of that remote across the state since then.
He nonchalantly shares, “I designed the remote for my mother… later I decided why should I not make such remotes for others too.”
Mallesh owes all his success to his mother Bommagani Lakshmi, who passed away in 2013. He is currently waiting for the patent for his new innovation – a device that detects if a driver is drunk and doesn’t start if they are drunk.
“I have been working on the project since 2012. I’m waiting for approval from the MSME (Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises). The device, which can be installed in both two-wheelers and four-wheelers, is equipped with sensors that detect if the driver is drunk and will not start if he is.”
There’s a small problem though. “The driver should be within the 3 feet radius of the device. If he is too tall and 3 feet away from the steering or handle, the device can be fooled,” he quips.
Mallesh says that he saw massive sales with his solar-powered pesticide sprayers, selling over 3,000 units. These sprayers also work as invertors that can be used to power lights and fans in the absence of power. Each sprayer costs Rs 5,000.
“Each farmer spends about Rs 1,000 on diesel and petrol a day to spray pesticide for five acres. Annually they need to spend Rs 18,000 – Rs 20,000 towards petrol and diesel, whereas with my device they just need to invest Rs 5,000 once and reap the benefits forever.”
Mallesh has also designed a weed remover machine that helps farmers spend less towards hiring bulls for the purpose.
His other innovations include developing a mobile phone-controlled water pump. This helps avert tragic deaths due to snake bites at night when farmers have to go all the way across fields to the well where the motor is located, to switch it on. The device has a SIM slot. After calling the device, if you press one, the water pump switches on and if you press zero, it stops.
Mallesh’s pursuit in identifying problems faced by farmers and solving them using technology and tools continues.
Unwilling to divulge the details of his upcoming projects, he laughs, and says, “I will call you after I develop the tool.”