NAGAPATTINAM: The struggle to rescue the two-year-old Sujith trapped inside deep borewell at Manapparai in vain shook the whole nation. The painful thoughts pierced a little deeper into this 40-year-old's heart that pushed him to invent a set of portable equipment to help save children trapped in borewells.
"On television, I saw how people struggled to lift the toddler from the borewell day and night. I was conceptualising an idea for creating equipment, and it took me four months to design it," said S Nagendran of Nagapattinam, who works in a tinkering shop.
How does the device work?
Nagendran uses a long steel pipe to insert into a pincer head with jaws which can clutch and release. He turns the pipe as a 'handle' in a rotational direction to lock into the threads present inside the pipe portion of the pincer head. After the pincer head is internally locked with the handle pipe, it can clutch a part of the body.
"The length of the pipe handle can be adjusted according to the depth of the borewell. We need to manually or mechanically lift the handle upwards towards the sky and trim down the steel pipe as we raise the pipe upwards. By doing so, we can lift the child out of the borewell. The pipe handle can be fitted into a frame, set up on top of the deep borewell if it is a longer mission of rescue," he explained.
The equipment comes with four pincer heads and two assistive devices. The four types of the pincer head are used to lift the victim by its torso, head, feet and hand. One of the assistive devices is used to tie the child's hands with a rope to keep the child idle during the lift. The other is used to provide standing support under the feet. The entire set up cost him about Rs 20,000 to make and weighs less than 10 kg.
Nagendran comes from a humble family in Senthamaraikan village in Tiruvarur district. He did not pursue schooling after failing in Class X but went to Velankanni to work in a small fancy shop run by his brother.
"I wanted to work physically. Then, I was introduced to my teacher Saemaa Bhai, who ran a tinkering shop in Nagore. I worked hard and started my tinkering shop in the early 2000s," he said.
Nagendran requested the State government to recognise his work and approve his design. He demonstrated his device in front of media persons on Wednesday. He is married to Sudha for 14 years and has daughter Jarvina (12) and Kishore (9), studying class VII and IV respectively.