As a substitute for a pair of bullocks, a farm implement called Mech Bull has been developed for small farmers who cannot afford tractors and power tillers.
Sponsored by Vigyan Ashram in Pabal village in Pune, Mech Bull is a multipurpose farm implement that carries out various agricultural operations such as ploughing and seeding, pumping water, carrying chaff, and can also be used as a cutter and thresher.
Meant for'small cultivators, this crude-looking mir)i-tractor has a 6 horsepower, air-cooled diesel engine and reconditioned jeep gear reassembled on a sturdy steel chassis fabricated for the purpose. Costing a moderate Rs 37,000, Mech Bull is suitable for assembly and repairs by any rural diesel engine mechanic and workshop.
While 5 prototypes have been made in Pabal village and field tested over 5 years on a modest budget of Rs 1.9 lakh, the Vigyan Ashram is willing to train people to assemble the implement elsewhere.
Applauded by local farmers as ideal for their needs, Mech Bull MK 11 and MK III have proved to be dependable workhorses and are in regular use in the Vigyan Ashram and its neighbourhood. Work on MK IV is underway and this model will be simpler, cheaper and restricted to land tilling and water pumping.
The main impediment to popularising the implement is a clarification of its status vis-a-vis the Motor Vehicles Act.
Besides, making the implement eligible for bank loans to small farmers will also go a long way in making it effective, versatile and popular.