Manual scavenging is a lethal crime and has been banned since 1993, but is unfortunately practised in many parts of the country even today. It has claimed more than 600 deaths till now and a report even suggests that one person loses his life in every five days while cleaning sewers and septic tanks across the country.
To deal with the problem to some extent, students from the Centre for Non-Destructive Evaluation at IIT-Madras have invented an electronically-powered, remote-controlled robot that can perform the task of scavenging.
The robot is called Sepoy Septic Tank Robot with a 360-degree motion arm technology and helps in homogenisation of the tank. It can be sent down in the septic lines effortlessly and can be monitored with the help of the camera installed in it.
The operator can easily see the condition of the septic line on a screen while regulating the machine. It uses high-velocity cutters to cut through the thick sludge in the septic tank. The makers believe that the robot is very low maintenance.
The makers explained that cleaning is done in two phases — mechanical, where externally powered cutter system is inserted to perform initial homogenisation and in the second phase robot is inserted after pumping out some of the content and filling the tank with water.
Led by Professor Dr Prabhu Rajagopal, this feasible sanitation solution is priced between Rs 10 lakh and Rs 30 lakh. The lab trial for the project has been done and it is expected to hit the market in a year or two.