TOWN HALL: Bengaluru fruit vendor Syed Sajjad Ahmed (63) will soon set out for Delhi in a prototype car that runs on batteries and solar power.
His 6,000 km trip, which began on Sunday, culminates at the national capital on December 2. He hopes to meet President Pranab Mukherjee and attend the India International Science Festival there. A Class 12 dropout, he started selling fruits for a living. After eight years, he started an electrical repair shop where he serviced radios and TVs.
His work won praise, and he was awarded the APJ Abdul Kalam Environment Award by the Karnataka government in 2006.
“When I started my electrical shop, I invested time, energy and money into creating something different, something that would help people and the environment.
Since then, I have been in love with science and innovation,” Syed told City Express.
Syed built his electric vehicle with solar panels 10 years ago, but took time to refine it. “It had to be good enough to drive to Delhi and back,” he said.
He has received technical support from Raman Research Institute (RRI) and Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Corporation (KREDC).
“RRI had given me a rickshaw in 2006 which I successfully converted into an electric-solar vehicle the same year. I wish it would come into commercial use as it is environment-friendly, economical and uses simple, innovative technology,” he said.
Prof Narasimha Kishore Koka, who helped the project technically, said, “We should encourage people like Syed who has set an example for big companies.”
Syed’s achievement is that he has created an environment-friendly vehicle that can be driven from one part of India to another.
He is visiting schools and colleges along the way to spread the message of innovation and inspire the youth in rural places.
“I want the scientific temper to spread among the youth. I also wish to spread the message of Abdul Kalam, who inspired me to take up this project,” he said