BELAGAVI: Drinking water is a mirage for most people in the country. While some urban areas have access to potable water, it is not so in the hinterlands. Despite scientists trying to develop new technologies to provide clean water, they are yet to reach rural areas.
An engineering student has designed and developed a cost-effective, eco-friendly solution to make safe drinking water available to everyone. Final-year student of Angadi Institute of Technology and Management in Belagavi in Karnataka, Niranjan Karagi’s portable water purifier called ‘Nirnal’ costs just Rs 20.
“There is a playground near my house where schoolchildren play daily. I often see them filling their empty plastic bottles with dirty water from a tank nearby. The sight of children drinking unclean water motivated me to design the purifier,” explains the 22-year-old.
“After a few days of working on the product, I filtered some water and sent the sample to the Chief Food Divisional Office in Bengaluru. The results were good.”
There was no looking back for Karagi. He then approached Leaders Accelerating Development (LEAD) programme of Deshpande Foundation in Hubballi and Sandbox Startup. Both organisations partially funded the project and guided Karagi on developing the filter unit. In July 2016, the product was launched.
“I have sold more than 8,000 units to schoolchildren, farmers and daily wage labourers,” says Karagi. He also supplied the units to Army commandos who were training in Belagavi in January.
He has received bulk orders from Qatar and some African countries. He is now working on a prototype of the purifier that can be fitted to a bottle of any dimension, not just pet bottles. The newly-designed product will be launched in March.
“It is in the final stages of completion. I am also planning to tie up with the Karnataka government to reach more children across the state and distribute the purifier for free,” he says.