Padarwadi is a small Indian village of about 10 households nestled deep in a valley that is accessible only by foot. Rice cultivation is the primary source of food and income; villagers used to make about 800 round trips across mountainous terrain each year to mill their rice in the nearest town.
The villagers procured a rice mill using a combination of savings and a soft loan provided by a local non-governmental organization (NGO). However, the mill remained nonoperational due to a lack of electrical power. Engineers from Cummins India Limited, in conjunction with a local NGO, resolved this problem by installing a modified genset that runs on both diesel and straight vegetable oil derived from the local pongamia seed.
Today, Padarwadi residents still make about 250 trips into town each year, but for a much different purpose. Thanks to the new generator, they are selling hulled rice, rice husks, and oil and cake from harvesting and milling pongamia seeds. The oil can be used for medicinal purposes, and the cake can be used as fertilizer. This has resulted in significantly more revenue that is helping to improve the quality of life in the village.
To help sustain this effort, Cummins India has been working with the NGO to teach the villagers to perform routine maintenance and minor repairs. The NGO is also working with village leaders to establish a contingency fund to pay for repairs and replacement of the equipment and parts
Watch a video of the project, which took first place at the 2011 Boston College Corporate Citizenship Film Festival.
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