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Kolkata to use robots to clean sewers, end manual scavenging

Submitted by scc india staff on January 2, 2020

The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) is mulling over plans to make use of robots for drainage cleaning rather than sending conservancy workers down in the drains and sewers for cleaning the silt. The move by the civic body is towards putting an end to manual scavenging and instead making use of robotic machinery in carrying out cleaning inside Kolkata’s drains and sewers.

A KMC official pointed out that manual scavenging in many cases have even led to death of the workers, though KMC takes all necessary measures in providing the workers with proper equipment and jackets. Speaking on the plans, Tarak Singh, member mayorin- council (MMIC), drainage and sewerage, said “A total of 10 robotic manhole de-silting machines will be procured and they will be deployed at certain points in the city as part of a pilot project. These robots will help clean the vast quantities of silt that collects inside the drains and sewers in the city. We often have to make use of our workers in cleaning it since not all drains and sewers can be cleaned with the desilting machines. However, the robots will be able to do it.”

It is learnt that these robotic machines will cost the KMC at least 15 to 25 lakh. The MMIC assured that if these robotic machines turn out to be successful then in the future, use of humans for such work could be eliminated. KMC sources confirmed that such robotic machines have been deployed in some municipalities in Kerala and have turned out to be successful.

Meanwhile, in a bid to look for a multi-tasking machine that can perform man-hole de-silting, jetting and suction, the civic body is procuring a three-in-one machine. The MMIC said that KMC is looking forward towards procuring five of these machines through tender process. These machines will be deployed in the short alleys in the city for cleaning the sewers.