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Now, a robot to clean nullahs

After a 8-month-long delay, BMC obtains clearance to purchase multi-purpose robotic excavator worth over Rs 7 crore, capable of performing single-handedly desilting operations

After an eight-month-long delay and several failed attempts to dredge up the muck from the city's filthy nullahs, the civic body has finally managed to obtain the long pending clearance for the acquisition of a state-of-the-art robotic excavator for desilting.

The multipurpose excavator, which has been purchased from a Europe-based company, cost the civic body a whopping Rs 7.7 crore, but might be well worth every penny, as it will perform all these functions that are individually performed by the currently used equipment, including JCB machines, dredgers and poclians.


The state-of-the-art machine will perform the function of all the
various other equipments used for desilting of drains


The proposal for the machine had been made last January, but an interminable delay in obtaining the inspection report stretched out the entire process.

The machine will be put into use from next year and will hopefully prevent the nullahs from flooding, for which the civic body spent an astronomical sum of Rs 131 crore this year.

At the standing committee meeting last Thursday where the proposal was passed, corporators asked why only the purchase of one machine had been cleared.

"More machines like this should be purchased, for better, faster and more accurate work. Why is only one being bought, when there are so many nullahs?" asked corporator Aqarunissa Ansari.

Another corporator Sameer Desai said, "The proposal should have been cleared before the monsoons. There has been an inordinate delay."

"It is very difficult to transport these machines, and also level them in the nullahs. The new excavator is cost-effective, and maneuvering it is extremely easy.
 
It will also save time," said an official from the storm water drainage (SWD) department, adding, "Most of the parts are adjustable, as a result of which it can be used to do different kinds of work.

Other than desilting, it can also be used to lift heavy materials, excavate roads and cut trees. It also saves time, as it can remove 4-5 cubic metres of silt within 20 minutes.

Officialspeak
Chief Engineer of the SWD rain department, L S Vhatkar said, "The machine can work even in water that is 3-4 ft deep, and can emerge from the nullah by itself, without having to be pulled out.
 
It is 15-20 ft long and has eight wheels. The machine will be delivered to India in two months, and we will be using it before the next monsoon."

Speaking of the delay, Standing Committee Chairman Rahul Shewale said, "We were awaiting the inspection report which got took a long time to come, delaying the entire process. It will be beneficial as its capacity is larger."

Tedious Task?
Mumbai's major and minor nullahs extend over a distance of 200 km and 129 km respectively. 4, 45, 611 cubic metres of silt had to be dredged up before the monsoon this year, but the civic body repeatedly failed to keep to its deadlines, finally finishing the task in the nick of time.

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