Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurated a four-limbed robot Bandicoot which is developed by a start-up of 9 youngsters to help in the cleaning process. The robot cleaned a manhole at Kerala Water Authority (KWA) premises.
Manual scavenging is banned but still many people are resorting to it in the country. The idea of Bandicoot started with the image of SS Satheeshan, a contract worker of KWA, standing neck deep in a manhole. The picture in the newspaper had raised many questions about how manual scavenging still continues. After seeing the photograph CM Vijayan asked KWA to look at developing an alternative to manual cleaning of manholes.
The KWA got in touch with this start-up firm Genrobotics and its 9 young engineers developed “Bandicoot”. Rashid, Director of Genrobotics said, “Their idea is to give training to those who are working as manual scavengers with the KWA. They can clean the manhole without entering it. They can stand and operate the robot. We are in the process of giving training to them. It gives us real satisfaction to make a product like this as it will improve the lives of many and they don’t have to go through the pain of going down in the manholes and cleaning it. We hope that this spreads in the entire country.”
Kerala water resources minister Mathew T Thomas said that it is a great initiative. “Our government’s aim is to avoid manual scavenging. There is still a long road ahead of us. We are also looking at how we can extend the usage of this,” he added.