THE WEEK|May 17, 2020
IN THE RAMAYAN, Hanuman flew into Lanka carrying the Dronagiri mountain, a habitat for medicinal herbs like the Sanjeevani (believed to restore life). Sanjeevani was needed to treat Lakshman, who was mortally wounded in battle. Today, as the world fights the novel coronavirus, a Marut drone ferries medicines to homes in the bylanes of Begumpet, Hyderabad. Till a few weeks ago, Maruts were used to airdrop seeds in afforestation drives. But now, they have been modified to help fight Covid-19. The drone got its name from one of the many names of Hanuman—Maruti, the one born of air.
For some startups in Hyderabad, the pandemic and an uncertain economy provide an opportunity. For instance, the team at Marut Drones had started repurposing the drones as early as February. “When Covid-19 started spreading, we knew that frontline workers would get affected,” said V. Prem Kumar, founder of Marut Drones. “We realised that usage of drones would be ideal as it would involve no human contact and there would be zero risk to lives. The drones could also cover a large area.”
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May 17, 2020