‘No manual scavenging’: Visakhapatnam’s civic body introduces sewer cleaning machines

The city administration procured the machines for around 1.25 rupees (representative picture). | Photo credit: iStock Images

Key highlights

  • The Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) has purchased three manhole cleaning machines
  • The move is a step towards reducing manual tidying up in the city

Visakhapatnam: The Citizen Body of Visakhapatnam took a step towards a society without manual cleaning and introduced three manhole cleaning machines for the city. Launched by the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC), the move will help clean up the sewer system using machines.

The vehicles were presented as part of the Safaimitra Suraksha Challenge, which spanned 243 cities. Two of the vehicles have a capacity of 6,000 liters and one of them has a capacity of 1,000 liters.

The city administration procured the machines for around 1.25 rupees. The vehicle with a capacity of 1,000 liters will clean the sewers in the narrow streets of Visakhapatnam. GVMC officials said the procured machines will help clog the underground drainage (UGD) network.

“A more respectable and humanitarian way of cleaning up the drainage”

There are 38,000 manholes in Visakhapatnam, according to the Times of India report. The jets of water installed in the machines can clean the asphyxiation point to a maximum point located four manholes away in the same UGD line.

G Srijana, GVMC Commissioner, said: “This is a more respectable and humanitarian way of cleaning up the drainage.” According to Srijana, the move is an effort of moving from manhole to machine hole. The city government reportedly plans to introduce a robotic manhole cleaning machine within the next three months. The pilot project will determine if the local authority will procure more such machines.

288 deaths from manual cleanup in the past 3 years

The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment announced in September this year that a total of 288 people have died in the country cleaning sewers or septic tanks over the past three years. Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Ramdas Athawale said a national manual scavengers survey was conducted in 190 districts of 18 states in 2018-19 to identify all manual scavengers cleaning latrines used as part of the plumbing latrines were converted to Swachh Bharat Mission.

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