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We all dream a beautiful car, a comfortable house, a foreign tour etc; and to fulfil the dreams of a house and a car in reality, we sometimes do or share some immoral activities as well. There is always a competition among neighbours as to purchasing or procuring an up-to-date modern car. Here, we are writing about such a dream car. This is really an exceptional car, remodel from a scrap Gypsy van of 23 years old. Now, this is a car of a Bio-scientist. By observing this car, one can guess how much serious a bio-scientist can be towards attaining his desired objectives. One can know about its owner by observing his car.

Now, let us see the characteristics of this model utility car. The car is renamed as “Citizen”. There is a label “Teacher `94” marked near the handle of the door. As stated by the owner of the vehicle, these two words- ‘Citizen and Teacher 94’ have been used in this car signifying that a bio-scientist or faculty contributes by teaching students to make proper citizens. And the vehicle is as old as 1994. These are the outward attractions of the vehicle.

It is already stated that this unique vehicle is a remodelled Gypsy van; its seats are somewhat different, making it more comfortable, than that of other gypsies. To absorb the jerking of uneven roads and paths in the field programmes, five shock absorbers are fitted in this vehicle. Inside roof is made comfortable by using foam so that its passengers do not get hurt on head.
The owner of the vehicle is Dr Sandeep Das. He is an Associate Professor and now heads the Department of Bio-technology, Bodoland University. He is a simple gentleman, having the required characteristics of a real scientist. But the hero of this story is the vehicle, which was bought by his father in auction at Rs 24,000/- only. It was kept idle for three long years at home premises; then it was transferred to a garage at Silchar but again it was lying there for another one and a half year for want of its spare parts. At last, it reached a miserable condition of seeing both the scenes of sky above and soils beneath. It was stated that a surprise came to notice while transferring the vehicle to a garage at Silchar as to disappearance of many parts of the old vehicle during its stay. Then with minor repair, it was brought at Guwahati (City Maruti Work). And it became a challenge to both the owner of the vehicle and garage-owner to make possible repairing of the vehicle in a desired way. One of Dr. Sandeep’s brotherly friend and then Ph.D. scholar of Dept. of Zoology, Gauhati University, Mayur Bawri helped significantly with his expertise in repair work. Many spare parts, unavailable in the local market, were bought online after sufficient search. After major repair at City Maruti Work like changing the whole body, making of extra side door in the middle it was taken for a trial at Kaziranga National Park and kept in Corbett Foundation at Kaziranga. It was tested for its toughness in tough roads of Kaziranga National Park for two months. From there it was brought to Barman Workshop at Kokrajhar for fine repairing. In this way, after rigorous effort of two years at Guwahati and almost one year at Kokrajhar, the Gypsy van which was once bought at Rs 24,000/- was transformed into a Model Utility Vehicle of a Bio-scientist with an expense of Rs 5.5 Lake with the name and style of “Citizen” handled by a “Teacher”. The front seats of the vehicle are taken from those of Alto LXi; while back seats are appended with head-rests as well as removable side-guards to support its passengers quite comfortably. A luggage-carrier is also fitted on the roof of the vehicle connecting its joints directly on the body of the vehicle so that it can bear the maximum luggage load of its passengers during field journeys. A siliconized gum, normally used in aquariums, has been used to make the doors sound and dust proof.
So far, it is stated that the vehicle is a remodeled one. Now let us come to the point as to why this vehicle is a “Model Utility Vehicle of a Bio-scientist”. There was always a need to collect fresh samples for the Bio-technology laboratory often from remote fields; and with this objective in view, the vehicle was remodelled fitted with five shock absorbers and tubeless tyres kept filled with nitrogen gas.

In this vehicle, there is no back-view mirror; instead it has a back-view camera and a front-view camera as well, uses of which are detailed below:

Front-view Camera– This camera becomes on with the start of the engine of the vehicle. One can see later all the front video recordings from the beginning to the end of the journey, once the vehicle is started; that is the recordings are preserved in its 64 GB memory. An inherent love for Nature deep in mind of Dr Sandeep Das led him to arrange for such a camera in his vehicle so that chances of capturing the snaps of rare wild animals are not missed in the fields and jungles.

Rear-view Camera– This camera also becomes on with the start of the engine of the vehicle. One can see later all the rear photo recordings from the beginning to the end of the journey, once the vehicle is started; these recordings are also preserved in its memory. Normally, rear-view cameras work in other vehicles when the vehicle is in reverse gear only; but in this vehicle, it is instantly on when the engine is switched on. If some rare animals pass by at the back of the vehicle trying to avoid it, those are also snapped by the camera.

Refrigerator– This mini refrigerator of 10 litre capacity is used for preserving samples during the collection period, that is, one hour time from field to lab. It has two types of light signals as in geysers, one red signalling hot and the other green signifying cold. The speciality of this mini fridge is that the temperature level in it can be lowered up to 4 degree Centigrade; and the funniest thing is that it is made out of a motorbike luggage box.

Mobile Power Sprayer– This sprayer is used to clean off debris from the collected samples right in the field, so that unwanted fungi, mould, bacteria etc are removed safely. A 10 litre capacity container is used for storing water or solution as needed.

Dr Sandeep Das dreams further to install a tiny tissue-culture lab in his vehicle enabling him to pre-process the collected samples right in the field before fetching it to the main lab in the University. His another planning is to install an additional fuel tank to ward off unprecedented fuel shortage during emergency in remote field programmes. He showed us his uniquely designed tool box placed in the left-side near the engine under the front hood. And it contains what not, right from wrenches to a small hammer, nuts-bolts, screws, valves, washers, wires and fevicle as well. There is also a mini drill machine, thick wire roll and many tit-bits, which are normally not carried in a vehicle and at least a scientist seldom carries. This vehicle has two additional fog lamps, besides the standard two so that his team does not face any difficulty during field programmes of sample collection. The vehicle has a rear lamp which focuses on a logo “Vasudev Kutumbakam” which is a sanskrit proverb and reflects that “The World Is One Family” which has been designed by him and Shourab Sherkel. The rear lamp is been made from a tiffin box lid with two SMPS (switch mode power supply) led light which can be regulated by a additional switch. It reflects his study and perseverance to remodel the old Gypsy as per his planning of works to be accomplished. It is noteworthy that the power he derives for running the cameras, refrigerator, mobile sprayer and lighting the sample collection process is from petrol that drives the engine. He now plans to add a Honda generator in the vehicle to utilize it during sample collection.

While enquiring about future plan, another surprise came to light regarding use of bio-fuel in his vehicle. He comments that mere research in bio-fuel is not sufficient, it should be used appropriately to run an engine. However, it can not be tried in a new vehicle; and hence he intends to experiment it in his remodel vehicle. Just think.

We felt great satisfaction to be able to cover such a model utility vehicle of a bio-scientist to focus it among mass people. We wish him success in future! Let his dreams come true and get fulfilled.


~~Manik CS Bordoloi,
Formerly Deputy Director of Agiculture, GoA
Mobile :09435025496


    1. Thanks for your complements. It is an humble effort to offer ‘easy access of information and knowledge’ to farming community contributing towards ‘Digital India’ efforts. Pz associate with us with your able guidance to keep us on proper track.~Manik

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