Uddhab Bharali is a resident of North Lakhimpur, Assam. His job title is ‘innovator’. It is a fitting title for a man who has developed no less than 118 innovations since the 1980s.
In the year 1988, his family was in debt. Uddhab wished to start a business of polythene making. He did so but through his own wit. Instead of buying a machine from the market which would have cost him more than one lakh, he built his own for Rs. 67,000.
It was then that he realised the power of innovation. This instance opened the gates to many more innovations to come. He has made many more machines since then and some of them have been commercialized as well. Most of his inventions pertain to agriculture and small-scale industries. From fruit de-seeders to juice extractors, trench diggers to bamboo processors, the list of innovations under his name is noteworthy. For example, the Areca nut peeler machine mitigates the chances of finger cuts, something common when nuts are peeled manually. It has improved output to about 100-120 nuts per minute.
He came into the media spotlight in 1995 and since then he has seen global outreach. He has received the ‘Shristi Samman Award’ in 2007 and ‘President’s Grassroots Innovation Award’ in 2009. He also won NASA Tech’s ‘Create the Future Design Contest’ in 2012 and 2013. Finally he has also won the ‘Rashtriya Ekta Samman Award’ in 2013. He works as a research scholar for Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship and as a Technical Consultant to Rural Technology Action Group (RUTAG) for developing technology at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Guwahati.