A dynamic and creative innovator Sorokhaibam Biren, 55 years, hailing from Bishnupur Ward No 7 developed the first prototype of Modified Power Loom for the first time in 1992. In 2004, the National Innovative Foundation recognized his innovative device and provided him some funds to improve his innovative device. His mechanized shuttle looms simulates the working principles of traditional Manipuri shuttle loom (Yongkham), except that the new machine runs fully automatic with the help of a half-horse power motor.
Innovation of such a modified power loom by Biren is of enormous advantage for the Manipuri weavers, hinging on traditional looms for production. The output of the device is 25 to 50 times more than the traditional shuttle loom, and almost any other power loom. The innovative machine can weave 3 to 4 fabric per hour whereas the traditional one could hardly make 1-2 fabric in a day. Except for the change of bobbin, the machine doesn’t require any manpower. The device which consumes around 350 electric watts can work for at least 15 hours with a 24 volt battery.
Recalling how he was motivated to innovate such loom, he said that once he along with some of his friends visited Mondum Mahadeva to offer prayer. When reached Chingmei in Moirangkhunou area, they had to spend the night there in a thatched house as they had no means to return home when his cycle tyre got punctured. Seeing of an old woman of the house weaving cloth in a dim light on traditional loom to maintain her family motivated him on how to innovate a loom operated by electric power sans manpower.
Biren is now busy making many modified power looms at a workshed set up at his own r located at Bishnupur Ward No 7 under the brand Stephia Mini Powerloom. He named his innovative device after his late daughter Stephia who died accidentally. Since he alone cannot manage the work, he has engaged at least six men of his locality on monthly remuneration basis. He gave the local youths on how to make power loom. Now, the workers are expert. It takes almost 20 days to complete a modified power loom, hesaid.
“With numbers of professional weavers increasing gradually, I have got many clients who demand for supply of the power loom. The only thing is that I cannot meet the increasing demand. I have sold 14 pieces of modified power looms which cost Rs 1 lakh to 1.50 lakhs a piece. The cost varies according to the design and technology of the loom. With the demand for this loom increasing, I am busy working to give finishing touch to another ten looms by engaging six skilled workers. It has been a thriving business for me as it gives me a good turnover”, he said.
Biren developed the electric operated power loom by modifying the manual handloom while incorporating a half HP single-phase motor to give a fresh hopes to the handloom Industry sector of the state. This new device has a provision to regulate shuttle speeds depending on the type of cloth being woven and facilitated speedy production without much taking time and manpower. Compared to other commercial power looms, his innovative device is of affordable cost and less manpower requirements as compared to the traditional loom.
Another contribution of Biren to the society part from his modified power loom is his innovative Mini Hydel generator. Using a low rpm alternator of a wind turbine, Biren came up with this mini-hydel generator around ten years ago at a cost of Rs. 27, 000. It needs a head of at least 3.5 ft. As the water flows the buckets at the end of the hollow arms start rotating due to the weight of the water. The device with 2.5 inch diameter water inlet could generate up to 500 watts of electricity.
Its main advantage is that with a single source of water, a series of devices can be run simultaneously. The only requirement is that there has to be a 5-6 ft difference of head between hydro turbines. It does not need a high velocity of water to exert pressure; since water tight chamber helps in that regard. The innovator has also developed a modified power loom, using second hand parts, based on the model of the local shuttle loom. The loom is run by a 0.5 hp motor. The whole process is fully automated, except for changing bobbins in the shuttle.
Biren is not satisfied with all these creative pursuits. In his journey of innovation, he dreams to produce more devices to benefit the society before he sleeps forever. He is working on hard to create a new Reaper Machine that can uphold 35 kg of Rice for the farmers as well as a Solar operated Tricycle.
Born to Sorokhaibam Naba Singh, Biren is the eldest son among six siblings in the family. The Innovator who loves repairing of electronics items right from childhood was a good sportsperson too who could bring laurel to the state by winning the gold medal in the first North East Sports festival in 1986 in Discuss throw event. He also completed the Training of SSB at Haflong, Assam. Seeing his talent in sports, the then SSB authority offered him the post of ASI. However, he had to leave the job following intervention from his parents at home who did not like their son to join the Armed forces.
Prior to fully engage himself in the journey of his innovative pursuits, Biren was also working as a councilor to Bishnupur Municpal Council in 1995.
With a view to develop his firm, he has applied for loan under Prime Minister Employment Guarantee project. However, he is not getting the loan, as State Bank of India is reluctant in sanctioning loan, he said and regretted such attitude of Bank for not exerting trust to the poor local entrepreneurs. “I know Banks are not willing to provide loans with many people failing to repay loans taken from the banks. However, I wish to develop my business with financial support from the bank and repay the amount in time”, he said.