JNNURM and KWA funds to be utilised

The 100-odd sewer workers employed by the Kerala Water Authority (KWA) will soon be spared the trouble of entering manholes to clean clogged sewers as the water utility has decided to procure equipment for de-silting the sewerage system.

Tenders have been floated to purchase four manhole-cleaning machines that could be mounted on trucks, apart from four ‘bucket-cleaning machines.’ They would be purchased using funds sanctioned under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). The equipment, along with allied machinery to clean sewerage pipeline, would cost around 1.37 crore, a senior official told The Hindu.

The KWA also plans to buy hydraulically operated de-silting machines for removal of silt from manholes, using its own funds. The machine would cost more than Rs.1 crore, said the official. The induction of a whole lot of machinery would considerably reduce the dependence on manpower to enter manholes to clean underground sewers.

The KWA engineers said they depended on 100-odd labourers and three jetting machines to maintain the 250 km sewerage network with more than 1 lakh connections and around 10,000 manholes connected to the ten pumping stations in the city and adjoining areas.

“We have been demanding induction of new machinery as there are laws preventing over-dependence on manpower to clean manholes. Besides, more areas are going to be provided with sewerage network,” said an engineer with the KWA sewerage wing.

The move was also based on the KWA’s plan to strengthen the sewerage network by bringing areas such as Kazhakuttom, Ulloor, Kadakampally, Attipra, Nemom, and Thiruvallom under the JNNURM.

Staggering figure

By 2021, the sewage generated in the city was expected to be 107 mld per day, said the official.

However, the engineers believe the procurement of the machinery would not serve the intended purpose if there is no mechanism in place to ensure their regular maintenance. “Some of the equipment procured earlier have become defunct owing to lack of timely maintenance,” said an engineer.