Bengaluru

‘Get robots to prevent manual scavenging’

The city has been asked to procure robots for manual scavenging after the National Safai Karamchari Commission took exception to the continuing deaths of people who are engaged in the prohibited practice.

On Wednesday, Jagadish Hiremani, member of the commission, visited Jaihind International School in Hongasandra which recently saw the death of a labourer.

On March 2 afternoon, Manu V., a daily-wage worker died when he slipped into a manhole he was asked to clean. The Begur police took up a complaint after his wife alleged that he had been asked by the school authorities to clean without being provided any safety equipment. Based on a complaint, the Begur police arrested Raghavan, owner of the school, its principal Saroja, and Kishore Kumar, a coordinator.

“All the campaigns so far have been addressing safai karamcharis against manual scavenging, but it is the general public who need to be educated instead. It is a shame that it happened in a school that is supposed to teach children not to follow such practices,” said Mr. Hiremani.

During the meeting, he instructed the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) officials to procure robots costing up to ₹3.5 lakh, which can be used to clean drains. The semi-automatic robot can descend 6m underground and has a controllable arm which can be used to clear blockages.

“There is a scheme where the Centre gives 50% of the amount required for the robots. Mumbai, Chennai and Hyderabad have procured 15 to 20 of them, while Bengaluru has not procured any so far,” said Mr. Hiremani. BBMP officials assured the member that proposals would be sent soon.

Compensation to be split

It was decided in the meeting to split the ₹10 lakh compensation between Manu’s four-year-old child, his wife Nandini and his mother.

The NSKC member will also talk to officials of the Karnataka High Court on Thursday, and specifically seek for rejection of bail for those who have been arrested under the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013.

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Printable version | Aug 14, 2020 9:26:45 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/get-robots-to-prevent-manual-scavenging/article26453773.ece

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