Delhi govt to deploy 100 more sewer cleaning machines soon
The Delhi government on Saturday said it will deploy around 100 more automated jet sewer suction pumps in the city. Aimed at eliminating manual scavenging, the new machines will be an addition to the fleet of 200 jet sewer suction pumps that are already in operation in Delhi.
Announcing the initiative, social welfare minister Rajendra Pal Gautam said the Delhi government has already been providing financial assistance of up to ₹5 lakh each to the owners of the 200 jet sewer suction pumps that are already in operation.
“After the success of the first phase of the initiative, it has been decided that the Delhi government will deploy 100 more automated jet sewer sucking machines in addition to the 200 machines that were deployed earlier through an open bid by the Delhi Jal Board (sic),” the minister said in a statement.
The move comes after the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis (NCSK) last week said that at least 64 people had died while cleaning sewers in Delhi since 1993. The NCSK had also said 38 such deaths had taken place in the last two years.
According to the government, the cost of one sewer cleaning machine, its fabrication and working capital amount to₹40.16 lakhs. These machines are only provided to groups belonging to Schedule Castes(SC), Other Backward Classes(OBC), minorities, safai karmcharis and persons with disability.
Gautam insisted that the machines were helping sanitation workers and manual scavengers turn into entrepreneurs. “This is a part of their rehabilitation. The model would make safai karamcharis and manual scavengers entrepreneurs as they would be able to employ about four persons – two drivers, and two helpers,” he said.
The minister added that the government has estimated that the worker who takes the machine on a contract will earn between ₹40,000-₹50,000 per month for five years after the deduction of the loan amount. “After five years, the earning is likely to go up to ₹1lakh-1.5 lakh,” he said.