Soon farmers can control irrigation with a cell phone

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The changing face of farming
The changing face of farming

Virendra Pandit

Ahmedabad, July 10 Tata Teleservices Ltd today inaugurated a pilot project at Sojitra in Anand district of Gujarat that allows farmers to operate their irrigation pumps from remote locations without having to travel to the farm.

The new product for the rural community will be offered in partnership with Ossian Agro Automation.

Becoming the first operator in India to offer remote access to irrigation pumps using a mobile phone in what it called as Project Nano Ganesh, Tata Indicom said the move would save electricity, time, money and the precious resource of water. With its network support, rural distribution channel and handset, the company would offer remote device access to regulate the irrigation systems. After reviewing success of the project in Gujarat, it would be rolled out across India.

How it works

Farmers using this service will have to buy a Tata Indicom mobile connection and a mobile modem that will be attached to the starter of the pump set. After registration, the subscriber (farmer) will be provided a unique code number.

Using the mobile handset, the farmer can remotely switch on and switch off the pump set with the assigned code number.

The farmer can also check the on/off status as well as the availability of power by a particular tone.

This service would be useful in the regions that have erratic power supply, a company official said.

The subscriber would be charged Rs 2,700 for the device and additional charges levied for the handset that offers lifetime validity. There would be two handsets provided with the bundled offer – one installed with the device and the other remaining with the farmer. All calls made to the pump by the Tata Indicom mobile would be free whereas the other calls charged as per the tariff plan given to the subscriber.

Speaking at the launch of the product, Mr Naveen Bhasin, Chief Operating Officer (Gujarat), Tata Teleservices, said the new device was expected to change the way the farmers do business, with less operating expenses and more profitability. They would be able to remotely access their irrigation pumps which will help them improve productivity, and have better return on investment.

Along with Tata Teleservices (Maharashtra) Ltd, TTSL covers over 3,20,000 towns and villages across India’s all 22 telecom circles.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated July 11, 2009)
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