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Indian Farmers Use SMS to Turn Irrigation Pumps On & Off

The 'Nano Ganesh' is an ingenious GSM Mobile-based system that transforms a mobile phone into a 'remote control' for rural farmers.

Jon Lombardo
Jon Lombardo on November 24, 2009.

The ‘Nano Ganesh’ is an ingenious GSM Mobile-based system that transforms a mobile phone into a ‘remote control’ for rural farmers to dramatically improve their quality of life by remotely controlling and monitoring their irrigation pumps.

In some parts of India, farmers have to walk several miles to turn on the irrigation pumps that water their fields. In addition, because the electrical supply in rural areas is erratic, farmers make this trek in the middle of the night (often the only time that electricity is available) only to find that there is no electricity at the pump. The dangers with these midnight treks have resulted in the hiring of workers specifically to walk the long distances to turn the pumps off and on.

The Nano Ganesh is thus a tremendously useful application for rural farming communities. Using almost any mobile phone, a farmer can control and monitor his pump system and its access to electricity by sending an SMS to a dedicated line programmed to his pump set. More recent (and expensive) models will even call farmers, alerting them to potential theft. The service runs through a modem provided by Tata Indicom and costs around 1,000 rupees ($20).

[via @JanChip and @TomiAhonen]

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