PM Murugesan, an inhabitant of Melakkal town in Madurai area, almost twenty years prior, figured out how to utilize the residual banana fibre to mesh them into ropes. These could then be utilized to make different items like mats, sacks, and so on.
Due to his family’s poor conditions, Murugesan could not finish his education post class 8. He was forced to help his father in the fields as his family did not see much use in his education.
He grew up seeing a lot of banana waste being generated around him, which got him thinking about ways to utilise them.
It was 2008 when Murugesan, his wife, Malarkodi, and the other family elders started discussing utilising the banana plant waste. The idea struck him on seeing a banana thread being used to thread flowers to create garlands.
The sheer difficulty in keeping the rope from breaking apart was a challenge to him. He used a machine that converted coconut husk into ropes for bananas, but it failed.
Using the failure as a crutch, he took that machine and modified it to work for bananas. Upon its success, he added a motor to make it work faster. Working it up further, he used bicycle wheel rims and pulleys to build a spinning machine.
He ended up investing INR 1.5 Lakhs and built and patented this machine. He then went to the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) with his invention and they liked his machine and recommended other farmers in the area to use it.
Evolution Of Business
In 2017, Murugesan built up a mechanized rope making machine, in which dual functions could be performed of making the rope and interlacing/twining it together.
Murugesan said that he was utilizing a hand-wheel component to make rope from the banana sheath, and that took five individuals for every wheel for the cycle, and each wheel yielded distinctly around 2,500 metres of rope.
With the new machine, they produced on normal 15,000 metres utilizing one machine and with only four individuals in all.
They started with five people, which increased to ten, very quickly to twenty, and as of today, they employ over 350 people, with a majority of women in their ranks.
Taking the decentralization aspect of a job into account, the work routine is very flexible as the women work from home, weaving new things that can also be coupled as gifts for their children while earning them a decent income. The company currently earns an annual turnover of INR 1.5 crores.
He has won seven National Awards and several State Awards, which include the PMEGP (Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme) Award from Khadi and Village Industries Commission under the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, National Farmer Scientist Award from Union Ministry for Agriculture and Best Entrepreneur Award from Krishi Vigyan Kendra at Jabalpur.
Despite these accolades, Murugesan feels the most satisfied knowing that he brought about an upheaval of his village and bringing them employability simultaneously.
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This post was tagged under: farmer, tamil nadu, village entrepreneur, national award winner, top innovators of India, innovators of the decade, businesses that matter, women employability, banana usage, banana waste, banana fibre, India cottage industry