| Animal-Drawn Wheeled Toolcarriers: Perfected yet Rejected |
|4. Experience in India: 1961 1986|
In India animal traction is an integral component of most farming systems and perhaps 150 million draft animals, notably cattle, are employed, together with about 40 million traditional plows and six million steel plows. Farm machinery development has for many years involved both research institutes and private manufacturers.
The French agricultural engineering institute CEEMAT noted that research and development work in India on wheeled toolcarriers has had a long history and that commercial production of models such as the Nair toolcarrier started about the same time as the earliest French initiatives of Mouzon (CEEMAT, 1971; FAO/CEEMAT, 1972). An early photo of one Indian model, the Universal Otto Frame appeared in an international journal in 1962 (Khan, 1962). A review of many designs of Indian toolcarriers was prepared by Garg and Devnani (1983). These authors describe two early commercial developments, the Universal Otto Frame developed by Voltas Ltd. in 1962 and the Balwan toolcarrier developed by Escorts Ltd. of Faridabad in 1967. Both allowed a variety of tools including plows, ridgers, harrows, weeding tines and levellers to be attached to the chassis. Both had systems for raising and lowering the implements, adjustable wheel positions, pneumatic tyres of the type widely used on animal-drawn carts and drivers' seats. The Otto Frame had a seed drill option. In both cases manufacturing was discontinued due to lack of market demand (Gary and Devnani, 1983).
During the 1960s and 1970s toolcarriers were also developed at several research stations in India. These included the IIT Kharagpur Multipurpose Chassis developed by the Indian Institute of Technology in West Bengal in 1961. This was an intermediate toolbar design using small metal wheels and had similarities to the Ariana of West Africa. It did not develop past the research prototype stage.
In 1979 the firm of SARA Technical Services of New Delhi tried to obtain international funding to allow it to develop its own wheeled toolcarrier known as the Bultrac (SARA, 1979). This was a ride-on implement with steel wheels, designed initially for use with disc harrows. The prototype was not commercially developed.