Instead of Walking Miles, Indian Farmers Use Cellphones to Operate Irrigation Pumps
Photo: Flickr, CC
Better for Farmer and Saves Lots of Water
Tata Teleservices Limited (TTSL), a telecom company in India, has launched a new service that allows farmers to operate their irrigation pumps remotely using a SMS-capable cellphone. This is extremely useful because the alternative often is for the farmers to walk many miles to the pumps, often at night because the electricity supply is a bit more reliable then (and sometimes after walking for hours, they arrive to find out that the electricity is out).The Business Standard writes:
Under the service, farmers will have to buy a Tata Indicom mobile connection and a mobile modem that will be attached to the starter of the pump set. After registration, the subscriber (farmer) will be provided with a unique code number. Using the mobile handset, the farmer can remotely switch on and switch off the pump set with the assigned code number. The farmer can also check the on/off status as well as the availability of power by a particular tone. "This service is exceptionally functional in order to save lot of time and energy in the regions that have erratic power supply," Bhasin said.
The subscriber will be charged Rs 2,700 for the device and an additional amount for the handset that offers lifetime validity. The service comprises two handsets that will be provided with the bundled offer - one installed with the device while the other remains with the farmer. All the calls made to the pump by the Tata Indicom mobile will be free whereas the other calls will be charged as per the tariff plan given to the subscriber.
(2,700 Indian Rupees is about $60 US)
This is excellent for social and economic reasons, obvious (spending less time turning pumps on and off means there's more time for more productive activities), but from an environmental point of view, this is also very important because this means that water can be used more efficiently, which means that India's agricultural sector can become more drought resistant over time, and that more water from rivers will be left as drinking water for India's massive population.