Hyderabad: Robots will soon replace men in cleaning up sewer holes in the city, ending the old practice of manual scavenging.
The Hyderabad metropolitan water supply and sewerage board (HMWS&SB) is all set to introduce rotometic sewer croc, sewer jetting and suction cleaning machines in all its operation and maintenance (O&M) divisions in the next two months.
The sewer cleaning robots require a human worker to stand near the manhole, and with its cameras, a robotic arm with 360-degree mobility and a handy waste-collecting bucket, it will do all the work.
“We’re going to procure rotometic sewer croc cleaning machines for manning, operation and maintenance of sewer network to avoid sewerage overflows in all O&M Divisions in about two months time. We will be inviting tenders shortly,” HMWS&SB Managing Director M Dana Kishore was quoted by Indian Express.
The robot uses a camera to identify obstructions, and then its powerful waterjet cutting and jetting system ejects them into the sewer line. After the pilot project launched in SR Nagar division proved to be successful, the water board decided to extend it to all divisions to replace manual scavenging.
One robot costs up to Rs 32 lakh considering overhead, training and maintenance. It can clean up to 10 manholes per day. They require minimal maintenance and come with a one-year warranty.
In February— 2018, Thiruvananthapuram got India’s first ‘manhole cleaning robot’ called Bandicoot.
Manual scavenging is the manual cleaning of human excreta from public streets and dry toilets, and the cleaning of septic tanks, gutters, and sewers. This practice of dehumanization has been prohibited by the ‘Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and Their Rehabilitation Act (Manual Scavengers Act) 2013’.
However, it is widely spread throughout the country. More than 98 per cent of people employed in manual scavenging jobs are either women or people from the Dalit community.