NEW DELHI: In an attempt to eradicate manual scavenging in the city, the Delhi government is seeking robotic solutions to clean sewers and septic tanks. The government has acknowledged that there is a need for robotic solutions for smaller lanes where large machines cannot go. The feasibility of a robotic solution was discussed in a meeting on Thursday between Delhi Minister for Social Welfare, Rajendra Pal Gautam, experts from IIT, Delhi Technological University, and Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology, and representatives from the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board, Northern Railways, municipal corporations, and Delhi Jal Board.
“It is evident that the Delhi government has already taken up various efforts to stop the inhuman practice of manual scavenging, and would soon introduce a fully mechanised system to clean the sewage system and septic tanks. Still, there is a need for robotic solutions for smaller lanes and by-lanes where machines cannot go,” said a statement by the government.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) dispensation is taking its cue from Kerala, where a robot named Bandicoot has been developed by Genrobotics, Thiruvananthapuram. Representatives of Genrobotics also met the minister and made a presentation.
Bandicoot, a semi-automatic robot developed by start-up Genrobotics only requires a human operator to stand on the street near the manhole. The machine, with its many cameras, a robotic arm with 360-degree mobility, and a handy bucket to collect the waste, does the rest. The operator is only needed for navigation when the manhole is of non-standard size or there are multiple sewer lines below.
Bandicoot has been commissioned by municipal bodies in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, where 80 manual scavengers have been trained to operate the robot in a bid to offset their loss of livelihood, the statement said. The experts from IIT opined that since the robot was not constructed for condition in Delhi, the DJB could approach the company for demonstration and studying the feasibility of using such a machine in Delhi.
sensors can detect toxic gases
The Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi is looking at using robots to clean sewers and septic tanks, in order to end the practise of manual scavenging in the national capital. Experts from Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology have suggested that the feasibility of using sensors in manholes could also be examined. These sensors are required to be placed in the sewer or septic tank so that the status of toxic gases in the manhole may be recorded prior to opening the manhole.