Haryana: PHED to forgo manual scavenging of manholes, deploys robot

For the sanitation workers, putting the concept into action has saved their lives.

Haryana: PHED to forgo manual scavenging of manholes, deploys robot
But now, Bandicoot robots perform the work with its human-like robotic arms and wider opening bucket system. (PHED Photo)

To avoid human casualties during manhole cleaning, the Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) of Haryana stopped manual scavenging and instead deployed cutting-edge robotic technology called the Bandicoot robot. Manual entry was completely stopped, and there was no longer any threat to the life of sanitation workers, said Banu Prasad, Executive Engineer, PHED Sirsa.

“We decided to work with robotics, and our decision was right, Before, working in manholes wasn’t safe, but when we started working with robotics, manual entry was completely stopped, and there is no longer any threat to the sanitation workers’ lives,” said Banu Prasad.

In 2019, Chief Minister of Haryana Manohar Lal Khattar unveiled Bandicoot, the world’s first robotic scavenger, to the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon MCG. The decision of PHED Sirsa to move to Bandicoot scavenging was influenced by the success of robotic scavenging in Gurgaon.

For the sanitation workers, putting the concept into action has saved their lives. Following the impact made by this robotic technology in PHED Sirsa, PHED Bhiwani did likewise and has been successfully offering its robotic cleaning service for about two years.

Currently, two of 15 circles in the PHED Haryana have switched to robotic manhole cleaning. According to PHED’s Sirsa and Bhiwani reports, such projects can eliminate human entry from manholes and provide sanitation workers with a dignified living as robot operators.

There are other cleaning methods, such as sucking and grabbing machines. However, the sucking machine cannot remove solid waste materials, and the grabbing machine can only clean about 20% of the area inside the manhole.  In this situation, the authorities were required to deploy human labour.

But now, Bandicoot robots perform the work with its human-like robotic arms and wider opening bucket system. It outperforms other ways of cleaning manhole blockages by a 100% cleaning efficiency.

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