Name : Late P.L. Mistry
District & State : Pali, Rajasthan
Category : Utility
Award : State
Award Function : 2nd National Grassroots Innovation Awards
Award Year : 2002
Late Shri Poonamchand Lakha Mistry born in 1914 in a poor family, was an outstanding innovator of his time. He was the eldest among four brothers. He thought about several problems affecting common people as well as large systems like railways. In some cases he succeeded with the actual prototype and a few remained just as his dream. Poonamchand couldn’t continue his education after fifth standard because he had to assist his father in carpentry work. While pursuing carpentry, he developed interest in creative activities, and at the age of 17, he prepared a functional miniature steam loco-engine. The then administrator of British government instead of encouragement, advised him to destroy his loco-engine. He, however, stashed away his creation but this incident couldn’t suppress his creative talent to develop innovative things. In due course, he established a flour mill and a motorcar repair workshop. Most of his income had been spent on experimenting his ideas. He received financial and moral supports from his brothers for pursuing his innovative experiments.
During his lifetime he made 33 innovations and of these 25 have been granted patents in India. Such a crazy innovator left for his final abode in 1981 leaving some of his innovations incomplete worthy further research and development even today.
He invented a device to catch unauthorized person’s wristcuff trying to open a locker/safe using wrong key. Initially, he was not aware of the provision of patent law and could not get protection for some of his innovations. However, later he started patenting several of his innovations. Once he observed the platform ticket machines accepted even counterfeit coins. He designed a unique “wise platform ticket machine” which would reject counterfeit coins and needed no external power. It was patented in 1939. The machine was demonstrated before the railway authorities at Bombay in 1941. It satisfied them fully and they placed an order for six more machines to replace the British made machines. He did not stop at that. He thought of several other ideas such as inflating the tyre of a punctured cycle while it is in motion, bullock drawn water lifting pump and generation of power by the movement of traffic on road. The other innovations that he had developed and in most cases patented are:
- Improved tea coffee maker.
- Animal body weight drawn water lifting pump.
- Device for constant pressure of water in pipeline/tap.
- Improved machine for making chapatis/puris.
- System for prevention of train collision and accident due to derailment and sabotaging.
- Improved churner.
- Small flour mill.
- Folding cradle.
- Cloth washing and drying machine.
- Folding swing bed.
- Automatic lighting and delighting kerosene lamp.
- Power generation from road traffic.
- He is no more now but by honouring him we are saluting the spirit of innovation at the grassroots from one of the most economically backward regions.