According to a recent NCRB study, more than 100 farmers in the country lose cattle and crops every year due to accidents at night. Maharashtra is the second highest sugarcane producing state in India and farmers use bullock carts to transport their produce after sunset, becoming vulnerable to accidents due to speeding trucks and cars.
To address this problem, Deepak Fertilisers and Petrochemicals Corporation Ltd (DFPCL) has launched an initiative named Lighting up Farmers’ Lives, under which bullock carts are installed with battery-operated LED strips. This makes the carts visible from a distance at night, reducing the risk of accidents. According to Arvind Kulkarni, executive vice president, Agri Business, DFPCL, Maharashtra farmers have been vulnerable to various natural and man-made calamities. “This is a small step to salvage a situation that has huge social and financial impact. We need more corporate houses to take up such initiatives,” he said.
DFPCL, along with their creative agency Xebec Communication, launched the initiative last month as a pilot project in Daund taluka near Pune. So far, at least 10-12 carts have been fitted with these LED strips, said Kulkarni.
“We are in the process of collating feedback and information from the pilot market. On the basis of that, we will review and customise our approach. For now, our focus will be on the main sugarcane producing districts in western Maharashtra, such as Nasik, Solapur and Kolhapur.”
The concept, stresses Kulkarni, turned out to be simple, cost-effective and helpful in addressing the challenge of poor lighting on highways and roads. “The approximate cost for lighting up one bullock cart was at least Rs 2,000 and one such installation was sufficient to typically last for eight to nine months,” said Kulkarni, adding that the cost of installation is completely borne by the company.
“Some of the accidents have dented the lives of the entire family as the main bread earner lost his life. We felt that there was a dire need to address this issue immediately and approached various agencies to come up with a solution that could help in avoiding accidents,” said Kulkarni, adding that the feedback from farmers and their families has been encouraging.