A particular indigenous variety of cotton, V797, known as Kala Kapas in Gujarati, grows abundantly in the arid region of Gujarat. Each year, the season starts in September and ends around May. To separate cotton from Kala is a tedious and monotonous task. There was no mechanism to perform this task and it had to be done manually. Every year, thousands of workers, including woman and children, used to invest their numerous hours in this low-value job. Apart from making the process slow, the nature of labour also precipitated health problems for workers due to the suspended cotton particles in air.
As an answer to this problem, Mansukhbhai Patel from Ahmedabad developed a contrivance called Cotton Stripper, which removes lint from cotton shells in a faster and efficient manner. The invention of Patel, who is now in his 60s, not only reduces drudgery but also improves the quality of cotton. Patel won a United States patent for the product and the innovator became an entrepreneur, setting up Chetak Agro Industries to manufacture the machine on a commercial scale.
Born into a farmers' family, Patel started helping his father in various farm-related works, particularly related to farm machinery. He pursued studies up to high school. As a child, Patel had great interest in mechanical and electrical appliances and he would tinker with these whenever he got an opportunity. The idea of mechanizing the process of stripping rainfed cotton from shells came to him during one of his frequent visits to his village. He mulled the idea for several months. In 1991, he was convinced that the mechanization of the process of stripping the cotton lint from partially opened bolls was not an impossible task and that he could develop a machine to carry that out.
Patel developed model after model to overcome faults in previous mechanisms. A detailed study was carried out by the Nirma Institute of Management Studies along with the Honey Bee Network's GIAN. The study had predicted a standing demand of almost 350 machines from the Gujarat market alone. The innovator himself took over the manufacturing responsibilities and GIAN extended its assistance helping him become an entrepreneur.
About 500 units, priced at Rs 2.75 lakh, were sold in the first two years of the launch. Patel has vowed to provide infrastructural support to innovators in future through his workshop and his experts.
News Link: http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-11-10/ahmedabad/43885538_1_cotton-lint-v797-rainfed-cotton