Mitticool, a clay refrigerator that works without electricity had turned the world’s attention to its creator Mansukhbhai Prajapati, a craftsman based in Gujarat.
A school drop-out, he has achieved a feat that many in the world envy today. The simple and unassuming Mansukhbhai is not keen on money. His ambition is to make more low-cost and eco-friendly products for the masses.
Former President APJ Abdul Kalam called him a ‘true scientist’. Presenting the national award to Mansukhbhai in 2009, President Pratibha Patil appreciated his work and asked him for a Mitticool. The man has his name in the Forbes list of seven most powerful rural Indian entrepreneurs, whose “inventions are changing lives” of the people across the country.
Scientists and journalists from across the world have visited his unit to see how he makes eco-friendly products at a low cost.
It took him four years to get the combination right, mixing and churning different types of clay in different proportions. He hit the jackpot with an unusual addition of sawdust and sand, which makes the soil porous and the interiors cold.
“I failed in the tenth standard. But I was not disappointed as I knew that I was capable of making something new,” said Mansukhbhai who holds a patent for Mitticool.
His inspiration came from a tragedy that shook the entire nation: The Gujarat Earthquake of 2001.
”Journalists came and photographed our broken matkas (earthen pots). They referred to them as the poor man’s fridge. I thought, why can’t we make a real fridge with the same cooling principle?” said Mansukhbhai.
The eco-friendly refrigerator can store about 10 litres of water in its upper portion and fruits and vegetables can be stored in the lower cabinet. It keeps fruits and vegetables fresh for up to a week, retaining their original taste.
From manufacturing to packaging, to Research and Development, Mitticool is a one-man initiative.
Mansukhbhai sells 50 to 70 Mitticools a month and has sold 1500 units so far. Under this brand name he is also producing water filters, pressure cookers, and non-stick tawas (pans) all made of clay.
Retail giants like Big Bazaar are wooing him, but Mansukhbhai is worried that it may push up his prices and the whole idea of Mitticool for the poor may fail.
A good majority of Indians cannot buy a fridge as it is expensive. Besides this, electricity bills and maintenance cost is also high. Mitticool is an eco-friendly product which has no maintenance cost.
He has been popularising earthen products since 1988. The only drawback for him is the lack of stores to sell them. The products are mostly available in Gujarat and in some stores in Mumbai and Pune only, but now can also be ordered online.
Mansukhbhai does not hug trees, protests or debates. He is a simple potter, with a big green innovation to his name: Mitticool, simple yet a brilliant innovation.
Image Source [http://www.nif.org.in/upload/innovation_photo/mitticool-refrigerator-1.jpg]