HYDERABAD: SR Prasad, in his late 40s, had been watching generations of his family do the most menial job of manual scavenging. His family conditions forced him also to enter into the same profession, which involves entering manholes and clean clogged sewer lines bearing the unbearable stench and human excreta.
Prasad always wanted to get out of the profession. Monday saw his dreams come true. He not only have to do the menial job anymore, but he is now an entrepreneur. He is a proud owner of a mini sewer jetting machine that will now reduce and in future put an end to manual scavenging, if the plans of the water board materialises.
“More than the money that we earn through use of the machines, it is freedom from the manual scavenging work that is important for us,’’ said another entrepreneur like Prasad, who is among the 28 manual scavengers who turned entrepreneurs through the GHMC’s initiative.
Prasad, who started clearing sewerage holes when he was 18, said he saw his father, grandfather also doing the menial job. “I used to earn Rs 18,000-19,000 per month by clearing sewerage holes and taking up contracts. I use to get into sewerage holes and clear them. Through this machine I would earn around Rs 5,000 more. But more than the extra money, I don’t have to enter manholes anymore,” Prasad says proudly.
Prasad is a beneficiary of the GHMC’s move to provide mini sewer jetting machines which will be used to eliminate manual scavenging. Also, these mini machines can freely enter narrow lanes and clean the clogged sewers.
Municipal administration minister KT Rama Rao launched these machines here on Monday This first of its kind initiative in the country is a joint effort of HMWS&SB and Dalit India Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DICCI).
What are mini sewer jetting machines
The mini machines use hydrodynamic cleaning procedure to clean manholes. Thus, people do not have to enter manholes to clean them. Each machine costs I26 lakh. The machines were procured with loan assistance of I20 lakh each from SBI while the rest was invested by individuals.