India gets its first sewer cleaning machine

In order to reduce sewer deaths and put an end to the unsafe practice of manual scavenging, the Sulabh International introduced India’s first “sewer cleaning machine”.

The machine, Sulabh International founder Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak said, “will do away with 99 percent of manual scavenging” in the country, where at least one worker has died while cleaning sewers or septic tanks every five days since the beginning of 2017.

The machine, which costs Rs 43 lakh, was unveiled on the occasion of World Toilet Day 2018 by the mayors of all the three Municipal Corporations of Delhi (MCD), in the presence of Delhi BJP President Manoj Tiwari and Pathak.

To avert such tragedies, the Sulabh sewer cleaning machine is electro-hydraulically operated, with personal protective devices and a quick-view pipe inspection camera which extends up to 20 feet.

“The quick-view pipe view camera is designed to felicitate inspection of manholes, sewer, tunnels, tanks, mainline and other lateral pipeline facilities with an outstanding zoom function (industrial HD camera), scalable carbon fiber rods and a sunlight presentable controller,” he informed.

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Gandhian Thought and Swachhata seminar organized in Wardha

The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (MDWS) organized a seminar in Wardha district of Maharashtra. The seminar, titled “Gandhian Thoughts and Sanitation”, was centered on the Gandhian ideology on sanitation and the implementation of the same through the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM).

The seminar on Gandhian Thoughts and Sanitation included addresses on topics such as appropriate technologies in rural sanitation, organic waste management, and preventive sanitation linked with Nai Talim and industrialization:

Mahatma Gandhi has been one of the biggest proponents of sanitation and hygiene in modern times. He acknowledged not only the indignity of defecating in the open and living in unsanitary conditions but also the effect insanitary practices made on the environment. Picking up from the Gandhian ideology on safe sanitation practices, the Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, put sanitation at the top of the nation’s development agenda and launched the Swachh Bharat Mission in 2014. The SBM today is a massive Jan Andolan (people’s movement), which has shown significant progress with the rural sanitation coverage has increased from 39%, at the launch of the SBM in 2014, to over 95% today. With 8.7 crore toilets constructed, 5.15 lakh villages, 530 districts, and 25 States and Union Territories have been declared ODF.

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Govt. seeks help to end manual scavenging

In a bid to eliminate the need for manual scavenging, the Centre on Sunday launched a challenge asking innovators, NGOs, research institutions, companies and cities to propose technology and business solutions to clean urban sewers and septic tanks without human entry.

The challenge will be part of the Mahatma Gandhi International Sanitation Convention to be held on October 18 this year, according to an official statement from the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. The objectives are to identify technological and business process innovations, endorse viable business models suitable for cities of different sizes and geographies, and pilot test shortlisted technologies and solutions in select project cities and bridge the gap between innovators or manufacturers and beneficiaries such as urban local bodies and citizens.

Activists working with manual scavengers expressed some skepticism about the proposal. The machines to clean sewers and septic tanks are already available globally, but they need to be adapted to Indian conditions, and the government needs to show the political will to actually use the technology on the ground on a large scale, they said.

Mahatma Gandhi International Sanitation Convention:

It will be launched at the 150th-anniversary celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi. It will be a first-of-its-kind International Sanitation Convention.

Ministers from over 70 countries will be invited and taken on a ‘Gandhi Trail’ in Gujarat.

The government will use the occasion to “showcase its performance” and “success story” in the Swachh Bharat programme in the past four years, which was launched on October 2, 2014, and have a face-to-face dialogue with the world leaders to share their experiences on sanitation programmes.

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National Commission for Safai Karamcharis

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the creation of one post each of Vice-Chairperson and Member in the National Commission for Safai Karmacharis.

The decision is intended to optimize the functioning of the Commission and for fulfilling desired objectives of welfare and development of the target group.

The National Commission for SafaiKarmacharis is working for the welfare of both SafaiKaramcharis and Manual Scavengers. It is mandated to work towards the elimination of inequalities in status facilities and opportunities for SafaiKaramcharis and has an important role to ensure rehabilitation of all the identified manual scavengers on a time-bound basis. Under Section 31 of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act 2013, the Commission is to perform functions namely:

To monitor the implementation of the Act;

To enquire into complaints regarding contravention of provisions of the Act; and

To advice Central and State Governments for effective implementation of the Act.

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