This comes as humane news for sanitation workers. Forced to enter toxic manholes to ensure a working drainage system for the city, safaimitras in Khambhat, can bid goodbye to going down the drains. Friday saw minister of state for urban development and urban housing Shri Vinodbhai Amarshibhai Moradiya unveil two advanced robots in Khambhat Municipality, Anand district.
The robots, christened Bandicoot, have been drafted as part of a CSR initiative of the ONGC Foundation with a vision to transform the lives of sanitation workers. The initiative is in tune with the Central Government’s Safaimitra Suraksha Challenge under Swachh Survekshan, which aims at doing away with manual cleaning of hazardous sewers and septic tanks. Above all, it ensures the right to a humane means of livelihood.
“The state government has already started using robots for cleaning manholes, which, at times, become death pits for the sanitation workers due to accumulation of harmful gases. The state is now gearing up with more such robots to completely eliminate manual scavenging,” the minister stated, adding that the safety and dignity of sanitation workers is crucial to bringing about a positive change in their community.
Bandicoot is the world’s first manhole cleaning robot developed by national award-winning startup “Genrobotics.” Funded under the “Make In India” and “Swachh Bharat” aegis, the robot uses advanced technologies to mimic human requirement inside the manhole. It is also equipped with special waterproof cameras and sensors to gauge the presence of toxic gases inside the manholes.
The specially designed robotic arm performs multiple operations such as shovelling, grabbing and pulling wastes even from the outreaches of the line. The wastes are dumped into its “intelligent bucket system” which is then pulled up the manhole.
Bandicoot robot, which is also used for inspection of manholes, can be powered through electricity, generators or batteries. Notably, its interactive and user-friendly technology is designed to help the existing manual scavengers become robot operators. The robotic technology is being exported to several countries to improve safety in confined spaces such sewer manholes and refinery pits.
The robotic technology is an AMRUT Tech Challenge Award winner as a Promising Innovative Solution for sanitation by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of India.