-Rosan Wilson – IX

(This article was published in Times NIE, 26th March 2018)

 Seventy years after Independence, India has made quantum leaps in technology but we had not given a thought of using technology to clean up the sewers and manholes.

Manual scavenging, an abominable practice that claims several lives across the country every year, could soon be a thing of the past with a group of young engineers from Kerala developing a robot to do the sewage cleaning job and put an end to this “dehumanising practice” A spider-shaped robot cleans manholes and sewers with precision. Called Bandicoot, it has already successfully completed a trial run in Thiruvananthapuram, unclogging five manholes filled with plastic, filth, medical waste and sediments.

The robot, which takes 15 minutes to clean small sewers and around 45 minutes to unclog bigger ones, was developed by Genrobotics. “Our ultimate aim is to end manual scavenging in India,” said VimalGovind, the company’s 25-year-old chief executive officer. “It is time to change manholes to roboholes.”

Following the successful trial earlier this month, the Kerala Water Authority has decided to use Bandicoot to clean all sewers in Thiruvananthapuram. After receiving patent for the robot from India, the company has now applied for the world patent, applicable in 150 countries.