Sikanto Mandal: One of the youngest Indian Innovators Took His innovation to Akshay Kumar, the Pad Man of Bollywood
Sikanto Mandal at 15 years of age was the youngest innovator at a recent Pad Man promotional event where Akshay Kumar had invited certain selected innovators from all over the country. Sikanto’s innovation? A cost-efficient, fuel-free garbage collection device.
Sikanto, a young innovator from West Bengal, lives in Mathura since a very early age when his family had to shift here for job prospects.
Since a young age, he was interested in watching new invention videos on Youtube. Somewhere there, the science behind all these innovations took his fancy. His father works in a factory and mother is a housemaker. He has just cleared his 11th standard and is now prepping to go into 12th. Back then, the science faculty in his school would keep telling the class about all the latest inventions and encourage them to think about potential creations. They had a science lab where they would be introduced to these inventions, taught about them and then have them think about newer and more economical ways of building the same.
The idea behind the garbage disposal machine
There school is run by a charity trust. Because these students are from economically backward communities, the students are not asked for fees. In return, they are expected to do their bit in maintaining the school’s compound. The students take care of cleaning it. Sikanto used to notice that the children didn’t like picking up the garbage with hands and frowned upon the idea with distaste. It is then that the idea for a new kind of garbage collection and disposal mechanism struck him.
The young innovator says that there were already such machines but they all ran on fuel or electricity. He wanted to make a manually-operated machine, thus significantly bringing down the cost of operation. He was also motivated by PM Narendra Modi’s Swacch Bharat Abhiyan and thought of contributing towards the cause with his innovation.
Sikanto discussed his idea on paper with his science teacher who encouraged him to submit it to Inspire Awards for their consideration. This young innovator’s luck shined when the jury at Inspire Awards selected his project among others as their top pick. He was given 5k as prize money to develop his model. He started planning the construction under the guidance of his science and math teachers.
For the raw materials, he took to basic and cheap components like a regular cycle’s brake shoes that was used as a shovel to wipe up the trash from the ground. He constructed a container out of simple wood to hold the garbage. He then added two small wheels to the structure to make it mobile. Unlike the municipality’s garbage truck that has to overturn its container to empty the trash, Sikanto added a hatch at the bottom of his garbage container, which opens with a handle and down goes the trash into dustbin. The initial product looked like this:
Making it to the next level
He entered his garbage collection device to the district level exhibition, where it met with enthusiastic reactions from the onlookers. As a result, he moved onto the state-level exhibition and subsequently to the national level. Along the way, he kept on improving his device based on the pouring suggestions. At the national-level selections, he was one of the only three participants selected from the entire state of U.P in December 2016. At the event, the director of NIF (National Innovation Foundation) saw his innovation and invited Sikanto to showcase it in Gujarat. He built a proto-type with the help of two senior engineers for the occasion. Thanks to this opportunity, going from wood to metal, his product was now a far-improved version of his vision. A local company from Gujarat instantaneously picked up the innovation and decided to start manufacturing it for a larger use. Sikanto has been given royalties for the same. The product will reach the market by March 2018.
Sikanto Mandal (2nd from the right, lower row)
Getting More Laurels
Sikanto was recently invited to the upcoming Bollywood blockbuster, Pad Man’s promotional event where other such young inventors from all across India shared the stage with superstar Akshay Kumar. He was the youngest of all innovators there and says that meeting Akshay Kumar was like a dream come true; it was a wonderful experience to meet the Pad Man of Bollywood. Akshay Kumar has gifted a sum of 5 lacs to these genius minds to help them with their future plans.
Plans for the Future
On asking what he intends to do with all this money, Sikanto says that his family is struggling financially since many years. So he intends to use that money to build a family home in his native village of West Bengal. A couple of years ago, his elder brother had to leave his education and go work in a factory. So Sikando plans to use this money to help him finish his education as well. On a personal level, this young innovator plans on pursuing mechanical engineering after his 12th and wants to keep pursuing new innovations.