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Reinventing the spinning wheel

Esha Chatterjee

It will be formally launched by the President on November 19



Inventor: R.S. Hiremath with his charkha.

Bangalore: The spinning wheel or the charkha, the enduring symbol of our freedom struggle and village self-sufficiency, has now been given a new, modern avatar. “E-charkha” is what Bangalore-based engineer R.S. Hiremath calls the charkha — one that not only produces yarn but also lights up the user’s home.

The e-charkha has impressed the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) and it will be formally launched nationwide by President Pratibha Patil on November 19.This is how it works: a maintenance-free lead acid battery fixed at the bottom of the charkha functions as an inverter, and the big wheel is connected to a generator. When the charkha is spun, the battery is charged, generating enough power to light up an LED bulb, or to play a small transistor radio.

Spinning the charkha for about two hours gives back-up power for six to seven hours of basic lighting, Mr. Hiremath explained, adding that the LED light and the generator have a long life of 30 years!

The special high efficiency LED light consumes only one watt of power.

The KVIC is now planning to introduce two lakh pieces of the e-charkha at khadi weaving centres across the country.

The e-charkha has been priced at Rs. 3,000.

“The e-charkha will provide a means of providing economic independence to spinners and weavers in remote places – both in terms of utility and entertainment,” he said. For more information on the product, call 9845113109.

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