Niranjan Karagi, a final year engineering student from Belagavi took up several projects during his engineering days with a vision to bring about a change.
NIRNAAL, a water purifier can potentially revolutionize the concept of safe drinking water in India affordably. Now, this winner of the BEST LEADer Award plans to scale up the NIRNAAL project to a greater level in the next one year.
“In many places in India, safe or pure drinking water is a big concern for most of us. I’ve always wanted to revolutionize the idea of a cost-effective filter for those staying in rural areas and envisioned this social problem as an opportunity, “ says Niranjan Karagi
Niranjan did his schooling from St. Mary’s school Belagavi and PUC from Govindram Seksaria Science College, Belagavi. Later he joined Angadi Institute of Technology and Management in Belagavi to pursue his bachelors in engineering.
His father who is a businessman, mother, a housewife and sister who is also pursuing engineering have always been a strong pillar of support throughout his entrepreneurial ventures.
After the success of this project, he designed Hydrogen Welding device which takes water as an intake and generates hydrogen which can be used for welding. The oxygen left out are sold to hospitals for a profit. He exhibited this model at the Yuva Summit held at Deshpande Foundation and won the BEST LEADer Award from Kailash Satyarthi.
As he played with his friends in front of his house daily, he watched the little children from the school across his house playing there and noticed that they would quite so often go and drink the impure water from the pumps using their disposable plastic water bottles. Contaminated drinking water is one of the leading sources of health problems in rural areas and can cause anything from mild gastrointestinal distress to serious bacterial diseases.
Revolutionary Idea and Journey with LEAD
Niranjan felt the need to make lives better for people in these areas, and there began a series of interesting ideas to bring about change. He revolutionized the idea of a filter which would be cost-effective, portable and able to purify water easily. Thus the NIRNAL project came into being.
He heard about LEAD through colleagues who got funding with the help of the program. He was able to meet Abhinandan Kavale who helped him register into the LEAD family and LEAD Coordinator, Afsal Patel who helped fund the prototype for building the filter.
The filter which was mainly designed for those below poverty line, government school children, and farmers are the only cost effective filters available for INR 20/unit. It fits into any water bottle and is made up of plastic, activated carbon, cotton and mesh.
NIRNAL was commercially launched on July 2016 and Niranjan was able to sell 5000+ units to schools and colleges in Belagavi, Raichur and Dharwad Krishi Mela.
“Knowledge is powerful when we implement it. LEAD gave me the platform to implement and showcase my idea to the world. It connected me to the incubation center of Sandbox Startups,”says an enthusiastic Niranjan.
He plans to scale up the project in the next 1 year after completing his engineering and aims to bring about newer versions in NIRNAL with the same price for households, private school children and trekkers as well who could carry these filters around while traveling and get easy access to filtered water. He also wants to build new bottles which would go with the filter.
Niranjan is just one such individual who was given the opportunity to bring his idea to life. Today, LEAD has emerged as a significant youth movement that has churned out more than 4500 LEADers and helped students execute around 4000 projects in various areas.