The monsoon brought about a flood-like situation in various parts of the city last year because of choked nullahs, but this time around residents may not have to face a similar problem. A robotic multipurpose excavator (RME) taken on trial basis by the Pune Municipal Corporation last month is being used to de-silt nullahs in the city and is said to be working satisfactorily.
According to PMC officials, this advanced machine will be used to keep the nullahs clean throughout the year, making the concept of pre-monsoon cleaning drives obsolete. Tilak Road ward office Assistant Commissioner Jayant Bhosekar used this smart technology during his tenure as ward officer of Aundh earlier. He said the machine was used to clean around 90 per cent of the nullahs in Aundh. “The machine reaches spots that JCB machines can’t,” Bhosekar said. He said although it was a multipurpose machine, nullah cleaning was the top priority for its use. “Surprisingly, it also cleans converts of the nullah on Baner Road, where even labourers cannot gain access,” Bhosekar said. The basic model of the machine costs Rs 2.5 crore and the German technology it employs enables it to perform multiple tasks during de-silting work.
“This machine can even be operated during flood-like situations and it can be accessed automatically without a machine operator,” said Prashant Sutar, managing director of Aryan Firms Private Limited, which is the sole distributor of RME across India. “Pune is the third city in India where this machine is being used for demonstration purposes. The Mumbai civic body has already bought a machine, while the Nagpur Municipal Corporation is in tendering process. We are not charging PMC anything for the machine as it is being used on trial basis.”
Aundh ward office Assistant Commissioner Nitin Udas said the machine was used to widen a nullah in his area. He said there was a need for more such machines as just one was not sufficient for 14 wards across the city. Additional City Engineer (Road), Pramod Nirbhavane said, “There is no need to prepare pathways for using the machine, unlike JCBs. The machine parts are adjustable, which makes it suitable to use in different conditions.” He added that currently the PMC has got only one machine on trial basis and it has already become popular across the various ward offices in the city. “This machine will remove the concept of pre-monsoon work as it will be used to clean nullahs throughout the year,” Nirbhavane said.
About the RME
>> The RME has four independent wheels, which can tilt in any direction. The machine can be operated even in quicksand, where JCBs cannot operate
>> The cost of the machine varies from Rs 2.5 crore to Rs 5 crore depending on the size and features