Updated 28 Apr 2022, 12:56 pm
Fuel prices have skyrocketed across the country, including Manipur, over the past many weeks prompting transporters to hike fares. But that no longer bothers Nandalal Thiyam, who recently started going to college and returned home on an electric vehicle he developed.
The seamless manner in which the 22-year-old propelled himself along busy roads, lanes, and highways by standing on the plank of his “Personal Electric Vehicle” (PEV) as if riding an electric skateboard with comparatively larger wheels caught the attention of many commuters.
Hailing from Nambol Balaramkhul Maning Leikai in Bishnupur district, Nandalal commutes at least 30 kilometres round trip in a day on his PEV.
Nandalal is not a new face for many when it comes to innovations. the Imphal Free Press in 2020 did an extensive story on how Nandalal along with one of his junior colleagues developed a robot to help in bomb detection.
In a state like Manipur where there are hardly any avenues for innovative products, another robot ‘JON17’ made out of scrap materials when he was in higher secondary school in 2017 became the talk of the town.
In an exclusive conversation with the Imphal Free Press, Nandalal said that he developed the particular conveyance as he had to walk around three kilometres from his house to reach the highway to hire vehicles for travel. “Even my shoes started wearing out too soon from walking such long distances,” he quipped.
Interestingly, Nandalal is self-taught through the internet and research fuelled by his growing curiosity and interests in the world of innovations. He even confided that he was offered free admission by a reputed electronics engineering college in Manipur. However, he said that he is not willing to receive formal education in the said field so far.
Nandalal did get admitted at Manipur College. But being born to parents who are farmers, financial challenges and untold miseries continue to confront his dream of becoming an innovator and establishing his own venture. Nevertheless, he said his dream carries more weight. He didn’t even renew his admission for successive semesters as he used up the money given by his parents in procuring resources for his projects.
“We are six siblings and I don’t want to ‘double burden’ my parents. I cannot compromise my dream either,” he told the Imphal Free Press.
Explaining the mechanism of the PEV, Nandalal said that it is powered by a 48-volt battery and the speed and brake are controlled with a remote. While the vehicle can cover at least 25-30-40 km depending on the weight of the rider and road conditions, he said that it can travel at a speed of 28 km per hour.
Nandalal maintained that the process is underway to obtain the manufacturing and marketing certificate of his vehicle from the authorities concerned. The PEV will further be improved to make it rider-friendly, he said.
Besides, many projects including a unique way of passenger vehicle service are in the pipeline, he added.
Despite being self-taught, Nandalal is also self-financed. He said he is yet to receive any form of financial assistance from the government for several months though he is a beneficiary of ‘Startup Manipur’. He expressed disappointment over the alleged indifferent attitude meted out by officials concerned in the planning department when he sought financial assistance.
This also points to the possibilities of many other beneficiaries, entrepreneurs and innovators being “ignored” by the government.
It is high time the government put sincere efforts to give wings to the dreams of many young Manipuris. Only then, the government’s vision for self-reliance may be achieved.
First published:27 Apr 2022, 4:33 am
price hikepetrol pricefuel price hikeFuel pricesNandalal ThiyamPersonal Electric VehiclePEVelectric skateboardfares
IFP Reporter, IMPHAL, Manipur