As part of the Live-in-Labs® program, Engineering students from Coimbatore campus visited the Dewgain village in Namkum tehsil, Ranchi, Jharkhand. Even though about 90% of the population of Dewgain village are dependent on agriculture, severe water scarcity during the summer months had caused the agricultural yield in the village to go down in recent years. Recurring heavy losses put farmers under mounting debt and the desperate situation often culminated in whole families committing suicide. Although successive governments had announced subsidies and aid packages to combat the situation, the university team realized that a more enduring solution is required. 

As part of a preliminary analysis, the team had examined the soil fertility and groundwater availability in the area and strategized about effective measures to reduce the cost of farming and increase crop yield, before deploying a potential solution. After several brainstorming sessions, the team felt it was important to create awareness among villagers on new technologies in farming such as drip or diffuser methods to use water more efficiently. 

After interacting with the villagers, the team came up with a design of a generic Internet of Things (IoT) framework to improve agriculture yield by effectively scheduling irrigation and fertilization based on the crops’ current requirements, environmental conditions, and weather forecasts. Final year B. Tech Civil Engineering students Aneena John and Rayappa Raja along with Electrical & Electronics Engineering student Manoj Guleria are currently in the process of developing an IoT based Automated Irrigation Management System (AIMS) for Dewgain village. 

The project was guided by Dr. B. Soundharajan, Department of Civil Engineering and Dr. Rekha Manoj, Amrita Center for Wireless Networks and Applications (AmritaWNA). In addition, Matthew Falcone, a master’s student in the Department of Civil Engineering and Environmental Sciences, University at Buffalo, U.S.A. also joined hands with the Amrita team in this project.

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