Meet Ranjan Kumar Dhar, a goldsmith in Tripura’s Jogendranagar village who has devised a low-cost oxygen concentrator to help poor patients, especially those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 38-year-old’s inspiration for building the device came from his mother Kanika Dhar, who tested positive for COVID-19 in September this year. The 62-year-old woman was discharged from Govind Ballabh Panth (GBP) Hospital in Agartla, nine days after she was hospitalized, albeit with severe respiratory problems. She needed an oxygen concentrator to help her in recovery. This was when her family learnt that an oxygen concentrator costs Rs 65,000. And renting an oxygen cylinder wasn’t cheap either; it was Rs 1,500 per day.
“My mother was gasping for breath. It was painful for me to watch. I had a knack for tinkering with electrical appliances since my childhood. So, I thought of devising some gadget and went into my invention room,” says Dhar.
He converted a small 7×9 room of his house into a makeshift electrical laboratory, which he calls it his “invention room”. Though Ranjan never studied beyond matriculation, he says he consults engineers, technicians, reads books on innovations and keeps an eye out for YouTube tutorials.
After spending several hours inside his innovation room, he built an oxygen concentrator with a few water bottles, a damaged water purifier, a humidifier bottle, small exhaust fans from a computer store, and other components that he wants to keep a secret for now.
Ranjan has named his device ‘Life Plus India’. He even wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requesting him to adopt it nationwide as a made in India product. He claims the device costs one third of existing products available in the market.
“After my mother’s discharge I wanted to make a device which can help others in similar conditions. There are millions of others living in poor conditions and can’t afford a costly oxygen concentrator. They can benefit from this”, says Dhar.
Ranjan says his search over the Internet and in medical equipment stores taught him there aren’t many Indian companies designing these products. The design is mostly foreign, he says, while our Indian companies are merely assembling the products.
“I hope the government will take note of this device and if it fits the specifications, put it to public use,” Ranjan adds.
He says his oxygen levels rose after he tested the device on himself. However, the quality of the oxygen produced produced from the device is yet to be tested.
Dhar says ‘Life Plus India’ would cost around Rs 20,000 if manufactured in bulk and is in touch with potential investors.
“I want to dedicate this machine to the country, the poor of this nation. I want Prime Minister Narendra Modi to come to know about this. India will go ahead when the every person goes ahead. I am also working on portable oxygen concentrators and other devices. I want experts to test my device and give their opinions,” the innovator says.
S Banik, a scientific officer from the Department of Science and Technology, told indianexpress.com that the device has to be tested before commenting on its merits.
“We haven’t seen the device. Even if it uses the same working principle of devices available in the market, we have to test it”, he said.
Ranjan is now working on a portable model of oxygen concentrator.