Would you believe that drinking water problems in Velavoor, a village near Venjaramoodu in Thiruvananthapuram, were solved by an SMS? Demustango, a start-up based in the city, has designed a system to switch the village pump on and off by sending encrypted messages. The device called GoJal ensures uninterrupted water supply to 55 families.
The need for a cost-effective remote-control system arose when it became difficult to access the village pump, during the floods of monsoon. The pump was set up as part of the Jalanidhi project, a Kerala Government initiative to reduce drinking water scarcity in villages. Key advantage of GoJal is that it safeguards the pump, and turns it on only if there is enough water in the reservoir and if there is power in all three phases. For this reason, the makers of GoJal say it would gain popularity in places where power-cuts are severe. GoJal has a sensor, GSM (Global System for Mobile communication) and a microcontroller. Gokul V Nath, the founder of Demustango, had started tinkering with machines during his BTech years at Mar Baselios College of Engineering, Thiruvananthapuram. He met some of his present team members when they competed against him at inter-college tech-fests. Four of the seven-member team which designed GoJal are students. Chaitin Anilkumar, a core member, is doing his MS from Germany and sends the coding for various products via email. Dileep P and Gheevar VA are pursuing MTech here from College of Engineering, and Lakshmi Sharma is a final year MTech student from the same college.