Biting the Bullet – Turning the Bullet motorcycle into productive farm equipment

Bhanu Pratap May 23, 2012 0
Biting the Bullet – Turning the Bullet motorcycle into productive farm equipment

 

Drought and poverty inspired Mansukh Jagani, a farmer of Mota Devaliya Village (Amreli, Saurashtra), to revolutionise traditional farming techniques by modifying the Royal Enfield Bullet into a modern plough

 

Necessity is the mother of invention. This is a well known phrase and there are people all over the world who move ahead of their circumstances to make life simpler for themselves as well as their social community. Mansukh Jagani, a farmer is one such man. Living in a village struck by drought and poverty, with a shortage of funds as well difficulty in maintaining bullocks, he ceated a unique and innovative product. It is called the Bullet Santi – an ordianary bike that has been modified into a multi-utility farm device to do extra ordinary work. It is one of the most affordable pieces of farm equipment for a marginal farmer and has found takers everywhere. 

Brief Background

The Bullet Santi has a leveller, a ploughing machine, a weeding device and a sowing machine, all rolled into one.The innovative new “machine” is first a Bullet motorcycle, which was modified to replace the traditional bullocks as well as modern tractors that many farmers can’t afford.In Gujarati, ‘Santi’ means ‘Plough’. The innovative farmer from Mota Devaliya in Amreli – Mansukh Jagani, 44, who incidentally is a class V dropout from School, had no money, but he was rich in ideas and proved that adversity can be stared back in the eyes to create more favorable conditions, if a man is ready to take them head on. Jagani developed the Bullet Santi in 1994. A drought that had hit the year before had left the family bankrupt.

According to Jagani, bullocks had become expensive to buy as well as to maintain due to lack of funds, as well as shortage of water and fodder due to drought. He took the idea from a popular means of transportation in the region, “the three wheeler chhakda” – a modified bike cum auto-rickshaw. He took an old Royal Enfield Bullet and added a farm tiller by modifying the chassis. The result was fascinating. A machine much smaller and affordable than a tractor and yet more powerful and easier to maintain than a pair of bullocks. As most farmers in Saurashtra already own a motorbike, all they had to do was upgrade it to own a Santi. So much so that it forced Jagani to diversify — now for almost two decades, he has been running a workshop in his village which repairs diesel engines, farm implements and manufactures and sells Santis. 

His innovation proved to be an inspiration for many others in the region. Now, as many as 500 workshops, which were earlier making agricultural equipment, are now making Santis to meet the demand. “Till now, I have made 500 such devices and there are more than 500 people who are making it,” Jagani says with pride.The Santi can plough one acre of land in less than half an hour on just two litres of diesel. 

Capacity

As per the claims of the maker, the Bullet Santi can sow 20 bighas of land using just one litre of diesel for every four bighas. There is hardly a cheaper or better alternative to this. Before returning to farming, Jagani had tried his hand at various professions to help his family make ends meet. Not satisfied, he returned to his village and trained in iron welding and metal fabrication, which helped him in his project. 

Awards and Recognition 

  • The Bullet Santi was scouted by the Society for Research and Initiatives for Sustainable Technologies and Institutions (Sristi) in 1998. 
  • It bagged the second prize in the first annual competition for honouring grassroots technological innovations conducted by the National Innovation Foundation (NIF) in 2000. 
  • It has been displayed at several exhibitions which include the Indian Science Congress in 2000 at Pune, the Swadeshi Vigyan Mela at IIT, Delhi, and at an exhibition in South Africa organised by the Department of Small, Medium & Micro Enterprises (SMME) of the Northern Provinces jointly with Commonwealth Science Council (CSC), London, in June 2002. 

Cost and capacity of the product

  • The cost of assembling a Santi stands at a modest  40,000/-
  • It can plough about two acres of farmable land with one litre of diesel.
  • No dedicated person needed to take care of it as in the case of bullocks.
  • It Can plough, sow 15 acres in 8 hours. The attachments are light and easy to handle.
In comparison, a pair of bullocks also cost about  40,000/- but the cost of fodder is an additional  500/- per day, whether they are being used or not, require a dedicated person and can plow only 2.5 acres of land in 8 hours, which is much less than a ‘Santi’

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